Pak Oppn hammers Imran Khan at rally, cops ‘gate crash’ Maryam Nawaz’s hotel
Maryam Nawaz, daughter of former PM Nawaz Sharif and currently PML-N vice-president, attended the mass protest where she launched a scathing attack on PM Khan in a speechUpdated: Oct 19, 2020, 14:20 IST
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s administration came under attack at Sunday’s mass protest rally that was held at Karachi’s Jinnah ground. Thousands of people attended the event held by the newly-formed 11-party opposition alliance, the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM).
Maryam Nawaz, daughter of former PM Nawaz Sharif and currently PML-N vice-president, attended the mass protest where she launched a scathing attack on PM Khan in a speech.
“When you are pressed for answers, you hide behind the armed forces. You coward! You bring the army into disrepute. You use them (the army) to hide your own failures. Who gave you this right?” she questioned the prime minister amid cheers from the crowd.
In her speech, Maryam also responded to comments made by PM Khan a day earlier. “Yesterday, you must have seen on your TV screens a man screaming his defeat,” she told the crowd. “You (Khan) tell people ‘ghabrana nai hai’ (don’t worry), there has only been one ‘jalsa’ (rally). But you are already worried.”
Maryam challenged Khan to ban the opposition PML-N Party, saying, “Don’t even think about it. This is the biggest party of Pakistan.”
In a reference to India, Maryam said, “You say the opposition is speaking (Indian Prime Minister Nardendra) Modi’s language, when it was you who prayed for Modi’s re-election, were dying to talk to him, gave him Kashmir on a plate… and we are the ones speaking his language?”
Maryam was softer in her approach when she spoke about Pakistan’s military establishment, saying the PDM was not against the army but only some of its generals.
“Those soldiers who sacrificed their lives, Nawaz salutes them, Maryam Nawaz salutes them, we all salute them. Remember this, one or two personalities are not the entire institution, but one or two people can defame the entire institution. And when they take cover of that institution, they cause heavy losses to that institution,” she said.
Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari also gave a speech at the event, criticising PM Khan for promulgating an ordinance to take over two islands located near Karachi.
He said Khan betrayed the people of Karachi by offering an unconvincing package and taking over the two islands in order to build housing colonies.
Bilawal also questioned the ruling party’s strategy on Kashmir, accusing the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) of weakening the Kashmir cause. “He (Khan) claimed to be the ambassador of Kashmiris. But now, he has become the lawyer of Kulbhushan (Jadhav). He (Khan) has done a deal on Kashmir,” Bilawal said.
“This incapable and clueless prime minister will have to go home,” said Bilawal and told the audience that the main demand of the PDM was “real democracy”.
A surprise speaker at the event was Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) leader Mohsin Dawar. The PTM member of parliament talked about human rights violations in north Waziristan and other parts of the tribal areas. He lamented that over time, people had gone missing not just in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), but all across the country.
“I consider this government to be worse than a dictatorship because they have placed a prime minister as a punching bag. In reality, the decision makers are the Pakistan Army and its agencies,” he told the crowd.
Another leader who spoke at the protest rally was Balochistan National Party-Mengal’s (BNP-M) Akhtar Mengal, who began his speech by mockingly welcoming PDM leaders into what he called a “gallery of traitors”.
“Traitor certificates for us, the followers of Bacha Khan, were issued in 1947. Our certificates are so old, they are moth-eaten by now. Yours are new, so I welcome you,” he said.
The BNP-M leader also questioned why Pakistan was created in the first place. “Was this country made for us or for the Defence Housing Agency (DHA)?” he asked.
Political observers say the Karachi rally was a success. The provincial government, which belongs to the opposition PPP, is believed to have managed the event’s logistics.