LAHORE: Ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s daughter Maryam Nawaz on Tuesday lashed out at Prime Minister Imran Khan in a ceremony marking the anniversary of Youm-e-Takbir.
Pakistan became a nuclear power on May 28, 1998, after it conducted nuclear tests in Chagai, Balochistan during Nawaz’s second tenure.
Addressing a gathering here, Maryam, who was recently appointed vice president of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), lambasted Imran, calling him a “selected, incapable premier, who came into power through the backdoor”.
“Don’t hide behind institutions,” she took a jibe at PM Imran in an apparent reference to a barrage of corruption cases against the opposition leaders by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB). Nawaz is in Kot Lakhpat Jail for his involvement in Al-Azizia case.
“If Nawaz was out [of jail] today, this [PTI’s] government would not last,” said Maryam, paying tribute to her father who made Pakistan a nuclear power in the world.
She also advised the prime minister to end his obsession with Nawaz. “All his interviews, his speeches have been about Nawaz Sharif,” she quipped, asking the PM to focus his energy to serve people.
Imran Khan, the 22nd prime minister of the country, came to power after July 25 elections last year. His victory is attributed to Pakistan Army, which, the opposition claims, denied other parties a level playing field.
Referring to Imran’s ascent to power, she said: “You might be a selected leader, but you are the [prime] ‘incapable’ minister of Pakistan — wake up, and serve the country and its people.”
In a jibe at PM Imran’s relations with India, she said Modi didn’t take Imran’s call in February when Pakistan and India engaged in aerial combat.
“This is the same Modi who came to Pakistan during Nawaz’s time. Why don’t people take your phone calls? Why do people not talk to you? Because you stole your way into power,” she went on to rip the prime minister apart.
She said the prime minister fails to find respect in the international community because he stole people’s mandate. “You are a puppet; you dance on someone’s instructions. This is why no country is willing to give you respect.”
The PML-N VP said Pakistan is in dire need of introspection. “We need to ask why is it that despite being a nuclear power, our country is still not stable. Why is our ‘incapable premier’ still roaming around with a begging bowl?”
“When Pakistan conducted [nuclear] tests, Nawaz Sharif did not ask for money from anyone.
“Despite severe restrictions at that time, Nawaz did not let the economy collapse. And then there’s Prime Minister Imran, who mortgaged the country for $6 billion from the International Monetary Fund (IMF),” she added.
Maryam Nawaz was referring to the Pakistan government’s decision to appoint ex-IMF official Baqir Reza at the helm of the State Bank of Pakistan allegedly at the Fund’s behest.
The decision was widely criticised by the opposition leadership. The government still has to disclose the details of the package.