PML-N vice-president Maryam Nawaz on Thursday asked party leaders to gear up for an anti-government campaign as the Pakistan Democratic Movement’s first rally in Gujranwala nears.
The PDM will hold its first public rally in Gujranwala on October 16, followed by Karachi, Quetta, Peshawar, Multan, and Lahore on Oct 18, 25, November 22, 30, and December 13.
“We are about to enter a decisive struggle,” Maryam said while addressing a convention of PML-N’s parliamentarians and ticket holders alongside Khawaja Asif and Shahid Khaqan Abbasi.
Maryam said “vote ko izzat do (honour the vote)” has always been Nawaz Sharif’s narrative and that he was fighting for the nation’s rights. “The parliamentarians present here are witness to the fact that the sanctity of the vote that has been violated.”
“The rigging of the [2018 general elections] had begun three months prior […] the vote was not respected, and the requirement for bringing people into power was only that they obey orders,” she said.
Maryam said that when such people come into power, then inflation surges, the law and order situation worsens, and the rights of the people are violated.
“When [Nawaz] fights for the people’s rights and demands that the rule of law should reign supreme he is nominated in treason cases,” she said, adding: “What kind of traitor does six nuclear tests in response to five nuclear tests?”
Maryam said that Nawaz had “strengthened” Pakistan’s defence systems and that he had made motorways on which fighter jets could land and take off.
The PML-N vice-president said that despite the economic crisis in Pakistan, he initiated operations to curtail terrorism in the country.
“When Nawaz came into power, loadshedding would take place for 20 hours in the country. We [almost] finished it in our tenure,” she said.
Commenting over the Islamabad High Court Wednesday decision, in which the court summoned Nawaz through newspaper advertisements, she said it was “unfortunate”.
“You can put up Nawaz’s photo in advertisements, but when you place an ad for absconders then people will see a reflection of former president retired Gen Pervez Musharraf,” she said.
Maryam said that Musharraf violated Article 6 of the Constitution and that when he escaped, no one was able to stop him.
Maryam said that the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority’s ban on broadcasting Nawaz’s speech would not hurt their movement as the former premier’s voice had reached “every street and corner”.
“Nawaz has not abandoned his workers. He was the first to take all the hits, and now it is our time,” she said, adding that others put their party workers first and hide in containers.
Talking about the opposition’s 11-party alliance, the PML-N vice-president vowed that the Pakistan Democratic Movement “would not fail the people”.
Meanwhile, addressing the conference, former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi asked the party’s lawmakers to be on the frontlines when the movement hits the streets.
“From today, we need to commit that we will not hold back […] even if we have to go to jails.
“If you spend three or four months there, it will be good for your health,” Abbasi quipped on a lighter note.
Moreover, PML-N stalwart Khawaja Asif said that the nation was disturbed as the economy was in “shambles”.
“For how long will we pay the price?” he asked. “The leader [Nawaz] has announced a war, and this is the war for democracy.”
“We have fought for democracy in every era under the leadership of Nawaz Sharif,” Asif added.