Aviation minister claims PPP, PMLN rulers are ‘liable to be killed,’ provoking backlash from within his own party as well as the opposition
Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan on Monday alleged that the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) political parties had looted the country’s wealth during their tenures in power and claimed all those who had plundered national wealth were liable to be killed.
Addressing media after inspecting the Labor Complex in Taxila, the minister—who had earlier caused controversy by claiming a third of all Pakistani pilots had fake or “dubious” degrees, resulting in suspensions on them globally—claimed the politics of the PPP and PMLN were based on corruption and money laundering. “They looted the national exchequer ruthlessly during their terms in government,” he claimed, adding that all these people were wajibul qatl (fit to be killed).
Sarwar claimed the incumbent Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s government had performed much better than the PPP and PMLN—despite record lows of economic growth and massive inflation—and credited Prime Minister Imran Khan for putting the economy on a path of “recovery.”
In a posting on Twitter, Sarwar’s fellow cabinet member, Science and Technology Minister Fawad Chaudhry, condemned the statement, terming it “very inappropriate.” He said it appeared the aviation minister had “failed to ascertain gravity of such statements,” adding, “Politics is war of ideas; it’s no more era of killing opponents.” He said such statements were in bad taste and “cannot be approved.”
Meanwhile, PMLN spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb slammed the government for still using “the language of containers,” and alleged that the people who had actually looted the national wealth were all sitting in the prime minister’s cabinet.
“If we [PMLN] had looted the wealth then why sugar was available at Rs. 52/kg while its price is now Rs. 110/kg, and wheat flour, which was available at Rs. 50/kg, is now being sold at Rs. 100/kg?” she questioned, adding that the GDP had also witnessed a precipitous drop due to the PTI’s poor policies and incompetence.
Similarly, PPP Secretary General Nayyar Bukhari pointed out that Ghulam Sarwar Khan had been a part of the PPP during its previous government and should offer himself up for punishment as a first step. He said the language used by Sarwar did not suit a man with the portfolio of a minister, adding that it was up to the courts and investigative agencies to determine whether or not someone had committed any malfeasance.