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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) vice president Maryam Nawaz has changed her mind on resignations from the assemblies as part of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM)’s anti-government drive, saying a divided stance within the opposition on quitting the parliament would only benefit the government.

Talking to reporters here on Wednesday, Maryam declined to comment on the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), saying that the PPP is neither her “target” nor she is in competition with the PPP. “Do ask if you have any better question other than PPP. I’ve already told you that PPP is not my target and I am not in any competition with the PPP,” she said in response to a question. She also ruled out any rift within the PDM, saying that all parties under the PDM will work as a team and share the same perspective.

When asked whether the option of resignations from the assemblies was still on the table, she came up with a changed stance, saying the resignations could only have benefited the movement, if all the opposition parties that were part of the PDM had the same position. She stated this in reference to the PPP, which had opposed the idea of tendering resignations. “Otherwise, it might have detrimental conservancies instead of getting any benefit, if some of the parties had resigned and the others not,” she explained.

Lashing out at the government for its “poor” performance, she alleged that the government has sold out Pakistan’s sovereignty, while corruption and incompetence are at their peaks.

“For how long you would be able to run the affairs of the government by shifting blame on the opposition. You will have to pay the price in case of showing no performance,” she added.

At the Ghotki train incident, she deplored the government’s approach following the tragic incident, adding that all the train incidents that happened during the tenure of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government were due to the “incompetence and negligence”, “but the government is reluctant to own responsibility, which is more deplorable.”

Furthermore, she maintained that there were zero loads shedding in the country when the PML-N left the government in 2018. “When Nawaz Sharif took over the government in 2013, the country was witnessing up to 22 hours of load shedding, but he never blamed the previous governments, instead, he gave a record generation of electricity in two and a half years. The incompetence, on the other hand, is on the record that load shedding has once again reached to up to 22 hours in the current 50 degrees Centigrade,” she further claimed.

Responding to another question about Prime Minister Imran Khan’s expected visit to the UK to talk about extradition of former premier and PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif, she advised the prime minister to take the “confessionary” statements by former judges, Arshad Malik and Shaukat Aziz along with him.

“Then you will see how the world would respond,” she added.

Asked about the strategy of the PML-N to block passage of the forthcoming budget, she said that the party is making consultations on budget-related strategy.

She said that the PML-N president Shahbaz Sharif will soon be presenting the party’s strategy with regard to the budget, adding that the party in its recent pre-budget seminar had exposed the government’s “lies” and “fudging” of the budgetary facts and figures.

When asked to comment on the reports, which claimed that the US has been asking Pakistan for giving air bases, Maryam said that it is a “very serious” matter and the government has so far not denied these reports. “The government of Pakistan has so far not denied all the reports coming through foreign and local media, which means that they are perhaps based on facts. Whatever deal you have made even if it is aimed at saving your sinking boat or you have surrendered before someone, if you have shown any weakness the way you made compromise on Kashmir, then you need to tell the nation through the parliament as to what blunder you have made,” she asked the government.

She further said that Pakistan is a sovereign and an independent country and the government needs to give explanation before the nation as it is the right of the people to know the facts.

The PML-N vice president also accused the government of using institutions for political revenge, adding that ex-FIA director-general Bashir Memon’s statement is a “proof” of the misuse of the institutions.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021