By our correspondent
ISLAMABAD/LAHORE: Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb Sunday made it clear to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan that the decision on elections would be made only by the government and its allies.
The minister said that Imran’s announcement about the march date was a new attack on the talks to be started with the IMF on May 25.
Giving his reaction to PTI chairman’s news conference about the Islamabad march date, she asked Imran to mind it that he had lost the right to decide about the date for elections. “No matter you cry, lament, shout or dance, the decision on the elections would be made by the government and its coalition partners,” she added.
“If you desired elections, you should have conducted them when you were clinging on to power and had the authority to do so. Now, you have no authority with reference to the elections,” she told Imran.
She said the one who looted the country and people for four years was again coming to Islamabad on May 25 with a new agenda of loot and plunder. She added Imran was coming to Islamabad to apologise on his failures, inabilities and corruption.
The minister wondered for what he was coming to Islamabad, who had played havoc with the economy and made the people poorer. “Those who made money in sugar, flour and fertilizer and made dollar worth Rs189 from Rs115, and took loans worth Rs45,000 billion are coming to Islamabad for what,” she asked.
Ms Aurangzeb continued that those who had exposed the masses to the worst-ever inflation of 16 per cent and forced them to cry, promised to give 10 million jobs and 5 million houses, were coming to the federal capital for what.
The information minister said they [PTI] were holding a long march only to hide their failures. She said special measures should be taken for protection of citizens, as they wanted to spread anarchy and chaos in the country. She said that earlier, Imran used to say that only animals were neutral, but now he’s asking institution to stay neutral. She said Imran Khan had a fascist mindset, and he wanted to cause anarchy in the country. “If they would come to Islamabad peacefully, we would also provide them with food,” she added. The minister said every legal and constitutional method would be utilised to stop a bloody march on Islamabad.
Separately, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif Sunday said it would be a big mistake on the part of PTI Chairman Imran Khan if he tried to instigate a civil war in the country, and the Pakistani nation would not spare him.
He would also be held accountable in the court of Allah for pushing the country to the brink of economic disaster, Shehbaz said while addressing a press conference here after visiting the Pakistan Kidney and Liver Institute (PKLI). He criticised the previous PTI-led government and said that instead of working for the development of the country, Khan was consumed by political vendetta throughout his tenure.
Censuring the PTI chairman, the premier said that Khan’s only focus was to corner his opponents, but he had no time to invest in building hospitals, roads, or work towards the prosperity of the nation.
“Imran Niazi had nothing to do except for hurling abuses at his opponents,” he said, adding that the man who claimed of making a Naya Pakistan could not even provide a single subsidy to the masses.
“Khan is a cold-hearted man. The kind of language he uses embarrasses everyone,” PM Shehbaz said. “This man destroyed the moral values of society.”
“Strengthening of democracy was the only way for Pakistan to progress,” the premier said. He said Imran Khan brought Pakistan to the brink of economic disaster and he would be grabbed by neck by the people of Pakistan for it. He said Imran Niazi used to ride on NAB day and night. He instructed Shehzad Akbar “to make me sleep on the ground in jail”, Shehbaz claimed.
Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah, meanwhile, said the strategy to handle the PTI’s long march to Islamabad would be finalised with the consultation of allied parties, warning that action would be taken if protesters attempted to spread chaos.
Addressing a PMLN workers convention in Bahawalpur on Sunday, the minister said the government was taking all decisions in the larger national interest and with the consultation of all allied parties.
“If coalition parties come to a decision of not allowing the PTI to hold the long march, then I will not let them [PTI leaders] to even come out of their homes,” Sanaullah remarked.He said the government will deal with PTI protesters as per law and no one would be allowed to disrupt peace and order.
He asked the people to pray that the government gets permission to order the arrest of Imran Khan. Sanaullah, however, said such decisions could not be taken without the consent of allied parties, but that he wishes Imran Khan would be kept in the same cell after the arrest where he was imprisoned. “Keeping Imran Khan for three days in jail would wipe politics out of him,” the minister said.
About Sunday’s Punjab Assembly session, Sanaullah said that PA Speaker Pervaiz Elahi should hold a vote of no-confidence on the no-trust motion submitted against him and then call an assembly session.
When asked about Mazari’s arrest, Sanaullah said that there was no involvement of the government or anyone else in her arrest.
Punjab Chief Minister Hamza Shehbaz termed PTI’s long march a ‘civil conspiracy’ against Pakistan. While responding to the announcement of long march by Imran Khan, he said it was a ‘civil conspiracy’ against Pakistan. “Imran Khan and his followers are not well-wishers of Pakistan and Pakistani people,” he said.
“Those who are working against national interests must be stopped by the force of unity,” he said and maintained that in the past also, the same characters caused irreparable damage to the national economy through the politics of sit-ins and protests.
Taking a jibe at PTI Chairman Imran Khan, Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman Sunday said that the former premier was marching towards Islamabad “for no reason.”
Addressing a press conference in Peshawar, he said that no one could break the record of the long march set by his party, the JUIF, during Khan’s tenure. “Imran Khan’s long march is not worth of even two paisas,” Fazl said, adding that people would be “mad” to respond to the PTI chairman’s call for the long march.
Meanwhile, Sindh Information Minister Sharjeel Inam Memon claimed that PTI Chairman Imran Khan was plotting to create chaos in the country by holding a long march on Islamabad. He said demanding announcement of fresh election date was akin to pressurising the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for vested interests.
“Their [PTI] purpose is to take the state institutions hostage by pressurising them. Imran Niazi is not sincere with Pakistan and he only wants to cling to power,” he said in a statement issued late Sunday hours.
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