Hitting back at Prime Minister Imran Khan over his threat to the opposition leaders regarding registration of cases against them for maligning the army, Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) vice-president Maryam Nawaz has declared that the party will present in the court all the videos of Mr Khan available on social media showing him talking against the army to implicate him as well on the same charge.
Speaking to the charged party workers from Azad Kashmir at a ceremony to mark the party’s founding day here on Wednesday, Ms Nawaz and other PML-N leaders lashed out at Mr Khan for allegedly selling out Kashmir and party’s secretary general Ahsan Iqbal announced that if his party came to power, it would “file a treason case against Imran Khan Niazi for bargaining away Kashmir”.
Speaking on the occasion, AJK Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider warned against any move to declare Azad Kashmir a province, saying any such effort would be strongly resisted by the people of Kashmir, even if it was made from his own party. He also warned the federal government against making any plan to rig the next elections in AJK.
“If you (PM) want to make a case for speaking against the army, then there is Imran Khan’s history of 10 to 12 years,” Ms Nawaz said and asked: “With what face do you say we and Nawaz Sharif talk against the army?”
“I have heard that a treason case is being registered against Mufti Kifayatullah of the JUI-F”, she said while referring to a reported statement of Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed that a case would be registered against the JUI-F leader for his diatribe against Pakistan Army.
“If a case is registered against him (JUI-F leader) then 220 million people will demand registration of a similar case against Imran Khan for speaking against army on the basis of the videos available on social media,” the PML-N vice-president said in her apparent reference to a number of video clips viral on social media showing Mr Khan while in the opposition publicly criticising the military for its alleged interference in the country’s political affairs. She said they would present all these videos before courts as evidence against Mr Khan.
“He (PM) says that he will not let anyone speak against army and says that he will make cases. No one speaks against the army because it is our institution,” Ms Nawaz said, alleging that it was the prime minister himself who dragged army into politics.
“We talk about public, he (Imran Khan) says army, we talk about price hike and he says (we are on) one page,” she said.
Ms Nawaz said under the Nawaz Sharif government, the country was prosperous. She said Mr Sharif had vowed to eliminate terrorism from the country and recalled that it was during the PML-N government tenure that the army launched two military operations against the terrorists. She said Mr Sharif had told the army “not to worry about money” and provided billions of rupees for the fight against terrorism.
“At that time, the soldier at the frontier was content knowing that if I am sacrificing my life for the country then the stove at my house will continue to burn. There is money available for paying the school fees of the children,” she said.
On the other hand, she said, how the soldiers posted at Siachen would be able to defend the country when their minds would remain occupied with the worries due to poor economic situation.
“There are many honest and patriotic people in the Pakistan Army. Not all are Papa John’s, not everyone has illegitimate income,” she said, adding that “there are a large number of our soldier brothers who depend only on their salaries […] This is such an unjust government that perhaps for the first time the salaries of soldiers have not been raised.”
Ms Nawaz said Imran Khan used to call Nawaz Sharif Modi Ka Yaar (Modi’s friend), but he had himself lost the case of Kashmir to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“When there is a weak prime minister who does not come to power with the people’s backing and votes and when there is a weak government then an enemy like India strikes like this,” she said, adding that “due to Imran Khan’s ineptitude and incompetence, Kashmir has fallen into Modi’s lap, and if Pakistan loses cases of Kashmir, then the whole of Pakistan is wounded”.
“When there is a government like that of Mian Nawaz Sharif then someone like Modi himself walks and comes [to Pakistan]. This is the difference between a real and fake prime minister. This is why it is necessary to give respect to the vote,” she added.
Ms Nawaz told the gathering that after the arrest of PML-N leader Khawaja Asif by the National Accountability Bureau from Islamabad on Tuesday, her vehicle was also allegedly chased by the officials of the Intelligence Bureau and other agencies who perhaps wanted to arrest her as well. She challenged the government to arrest her, saying that such actions proved that the “legs of the coward prime minister are trembling”.
She said her father and party supremo Nawaz Sharif’s voice had been “muffled” but his “struggle and narrative” had spread to every corner of the country.
“God was proving Nawaz truthful and Imran Khan and his selectors are facing embarrassment on everything,” she said, adding that the people had thrown all the accusations against Mr Sharif in the dustbin. She said today Nawaz Sharif’s narrative was proving true which was evident from the government actions against judges like Qazi Faez Isa and Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui.
In his hard-hitting speech, PML-N secretary general Ahsan Iqbal said if his party came to power, it would file a treason case against Imran Khan over Kashmir.
“(Imran Khan) Niazi is a traitor to Kashmir, he is a bargainer. I promise if we come into power, we will file a treason case against Niazi for bargaining away Kashmir,” he added.
Mr Iqbal questioned whether Pakistan’s defence system had been “weakened so much” that India annexed the territory, alleging if that was not the case then Prime Minister Imran Khan had “bargained away” Kashmir in a meeting with US President Donald Trump.