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LAHORE: Former speaker National Assembly and senior PML-N leader Sardar Ayaz Sadiq said on Saturday that he had not given any irresponsible statement and asked the incumbent government not to drag the armed forces into political fight.

"I never gave an irresponsible statement and surely will not give any in future. When it comes to the country's integrity, we are united as a nation and will give a befitting response to India," Ayaz Sadiq said while talking to media after a meeting with Maulana Fazlur Rehman, head of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) and chief of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F), here on Saturday. PML-N leaders Khawaja Saad Rafique, Rana Sanaullah and JUI-F leaders were also present.

Asked whether he would tender an apology, Ayaz Sadiq said he had "not said anything" and he has already clarified his statement.

Ayaz Sadiq maintained that the "political colour" given to his statement did not benefit Pakistan's narrative. He said he stood by his statement and would not allow anyone to declare him a traitor. "No one has the right to declare anyone a traitor, all of us are patriotic Pakistanis," he said.

About his recent speech in the lower house (National Assembly), he said he stands by his stance, adding that he had "many secrets" but never made irresponsible statements. "We can have different thoughts politically but as far as Pakistan is concerned, the whole nation is united and will give a splendid answer to India. People may have objections to what I said but the political colour given to it did not benefit Pakistan's narrative. We are political people and have been making statements against political opponents in the past and would continue to do so in the future. But at one point, when it comes to Pakistan or the matter of our unity or institutions, Pakistan's message to India is very clear."

Sardar Ayaz said, "this selected government tried to support the unsuccessful narrative that was being created in India." The opposition had strong reservations about the government on what he termed its silence on Kashmir and its foreign policy failures. But these are political differences. "Their attempt to associate my statement with the armed forces of Pakistan was not a service to the country."

"My statement can be seen and heard in which I talked about this government, which government officials misread by adopting Indian media's strategies. This is not only a blatant plot but a disservice to Pakistan," he said, adding: "You (the government) have played in the hands of Indian media and you have not done justice to Pakistan. I am standing by my stance and you will see in future, I have many secrets. I had been heading the National Security Committee."

PDM head Maulana Fazl said on the occasion that the government tried to create a 'storm in a cup of tea' over Sadiq's statement, adding if someone "destroys a person's character and his patriotism", then they should also be brought back to their "original standing." "It is our responsibility to keep our politics according to the law and the constitution," he stated. He said the PTI government had "bankrupted the country and Pakistan was at risk" under this regime.

Maulana Fazl said no person or institution was above criticism and remarked that declaring a Muslim League member as a traitor was a sign of the day of judgment. He made it clear that they would not surrender their right to have difference of opinion. "We express difference of opinion on the basis of principles and will do the same in future too," he said.

"The PTI government was trying to instigate the opposition. Do not impose an illegal government on us," he warned. Earlier, during the meeting, leaders of both the parties discussed the country's current political situation and matters concerning PDM.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020