ISLAMABAD: PML-N Vice-President Maryam Nawaz says her party is open to dialogue with the Army “within the ambit of the Constitution” provided that the PTI government is removed from power.
“The army is my institution,” Maryam said in an interview with BBC Urdu on Thursday.
“We will definitely talk but within the ambit of the Constitution,” she added.
Maryam said she was not against the state institutions but stressed that there would be no dialogue in secret.
The “incumbent government will have to go if we are to move forward,” she added.
Maryam claimed that the “establishment had reached out to her close aides” but had not “contacted her directly”.
She also said the idea of dialogue through the platform of Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) could be deliberated upon.
“The dialogue is with the people now,” she said, adding that the ruling PTI-led government was “so nervous” over the public response that “they do not know how to react”.
“The biggest stakeholders are the public,” she said, dismissing the notion that the PML-N was headed towards a dead-end due to its politics.
Maryam said her party had its own narrative and the PPP had its own.
Refusing to comment on a “minus-Imran Khan” strategy, Maryam said it was necessary to remove the PTI government to take the country out of its current crisis.
“Whenever the government takes notice of a commodity, its prices shoot up,” she said.
“The biggest issue is that people’s mandate was stolen. We need free and fair elections,” she said. “It is time for the incumbent government to be held accountable.”
Maryam ruled out any political ‘understanding’ with the PTI, saying it did not make sense to form a coalition when the incumbent government was “weakened”.
She said it was not the PML-N that was up a blind alley but those who’d attempted to bring ‘this artificial thing’.
“Wherever we go, whether it’s Gujranwala, Karachi, Quetta or Gilgit Baltistan, we see the slogan of ‘give respect to vote’ and ‘don’t make a state over a state’ sounding in the air.
She alleged that the authorities installed cameras in her jail cell and bathroom.
She spoke about the alleged inconveniences she had to face when she was incarcerated after being arrested in the Chaudhry Sugar Mills case last year.
“I have gone to jail twice and if I speak about how I, a woman, was treated in jail, they will not have the audacity to show their faces,” she said, referring to the government.
Maryam said she was not talking about the ordeals she faced in jail, as she “does not want to hide behind this” while she was struggling against the government.
“Today, I do not want to cry and tell everyone that I have been unjustly treated,” she added.
In her criticism of the government, Maryam said if authorities could break into her hotel room (to arrest Captain Safdar) and arrest her in front of Nawaz Sharif, her father and launch personal attacks at her, then “no woman is safe in Pakistan”.
“A woman, whether she is in Pakistan or anywhere else, is not weak,” said Maryam.
Minister for Information and Broadcasting Senator Shibli Faraz Thursday said the democratic semblance of political actors was exposed before the nation.
In a tweet, he said, “We have been saying from day one that there is no thought and ideology of the opposition. Those who are changing their stance on a daily basis cannot lead the people,” he said.
Shibli said bereft of any ideology, the opposition only followed personal interest.
Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid termed Maryam Nawaz’s statement irresponsible.
Talking to a private TV channel, he said people gave mandate to the PTI in 2018 general elections and that the government was not going anywhere. He said when the PML-N had decided not to meet anyone then why she [Maryam] was now talking about contacts and meetings.
He likened Maryam’s statement to inviting army’s interference in politics.
He said the PML-N wanted to come into power by overthrowing the incumbent government.
He said PML-N’s narrative will not serve and people in GB will vote for the PTI.
Special Assistant to the Chief Minister (SACM) on Information Dr. Firdous Ashiq Awan Thursday said the statements of Maryam Nawaz was a conspiracy to create misunderstandings among the state institutions and to make them controversial.
Addressing a press conference in Islamabad, she said the so-called narrative of the PML-N against the institutions had been rejected by the people.
She said the PML-N leadership, including Nawaz Sharif and others, had to face the law and courts in the cases registered against them.
She said the statement of Maryam Nawaz was a face saving attempt.
“Nawaz Sharif should come to Pakistan and face cases using his legal rights rather than giving anti-Pakistan statements while sitting abroad,” she added.
She said the opposition parties had the right to criticize the government policies but they should not indulge in weakening the state institutions by giving irresponsible statements.
She said the PTI government, led by Prime Minister Imran Khan, was committed to ensuring the rule of law and it was heading ahead with the same commitment.
Firdous said the development projects launched by the previous PML-N government were associated with self-projection and kickbacks and the Orange Line Metro Train (OLMT) was one of them, as billions of rupees were spent on this single project.
“The hefty amount used to complete this project could be enough to establish at least 35 modern hospitals in the city,” she remarked.
Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Political Communication Dr Shahbaz Gill said no one was ready to talk to Maryam for she was a convicted criminal.
Ridiculing the statement of Maryam Nawaz, he tweeted, “First of all, the military should send the PTI government home and talk to us. Then the military hand us the government and end its political role for the next five years. After then the military hand us power again. And there should be no role of the institutions in politics. Hear you all with your ears wide open!”