While deriding Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan’s claims of a “conspiracy” to assassinate him, Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) Vice-President Maryam Nawaz on Sunday urged him to make public a video naming the alleged conspirators, stressing immediate steps can be taken to ensure his protection if can prove his charges.
Addressing a political rally ahead of Punjab Chief Minister Hamza Shehbaz in Gujrat, she called on Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah to locate the video cited by Khan, adding that the former prime minister’s security would be assured once he had proven his allegations. “We don’t want you to die, we want you to live to see the progress brought about by Nawaz Sharif,” she added.
Last week, Imran Khan alleged that he was aware of a “conspiracy” to assassinate him and said he had recorded a video naming the individuals responsible. He called on his supporters to seek justice from the named individuals if anything were to happen to him. Stressing that she would never wish death upon even her worst enemies, Maryam maintained that Khan’s latest allegation appeared an attempt to build a new narrative now that his claims of a “foreign conspiracy” were starting to flag.
She accused the ousted prime minister of resorting to such narratives to avoid public accountability over his government’s performance. “Nawaz Sharif, whom you subjected to suffering and anguish during incarceration, will show you what a man of high stature he is by offering you adequate security, if even a shred of reality is found to your claims,” she added.
Referring to the PTI’s recent criticism of Pakistan’s economic situation following its ouster, the PMLN leader said her party would not permit the former government place the blame for its performance on the incumbent setup. “A person who is responsible for the sharp rise in the dollar and inflation was tweeting about the increase in rupee-dollar parity and spike in the costs of essential commodities,” she said, and questioned why he had not been so concerned about the economy when the Pakistani rupee shot up to 190 against the U.S. dollar under his tenure and the price of wheat went from Rs. 35/kg to Rs. 80/kg.”
Who should people question about the current crisis, she asked, the PMLN or the PTI who was in power for the past four years.
The PMLN vice-president also mocked the PTI chairman for saying he had blocked the phone numbers of the security establishment, saying: “I am certain that they have blocked your mobile number and you are now the wrong number in the eyes of the masses.”
To the PTI’s calls for early elections, she said that the next polls would he held when Nawaz Sharif decides they should be called. “If he [Khan] is so desperate for a fresh election, why didn’t he go for it before the no-confidence motion was tabled? And when it was tabled, he pandered to his allies and his MNAs to seek their support,” she added.
C.M. on stage
Following Maryam’s speech, Punjab Chief Minister Hamza Shehbaz took the podium and warned the gathering that if Khan were not curbed, he would undermine peace in Pakistan. Accusing the ousted prime minister of depriving people of their jobs, he claimed he was now damaging Pakistan’s international image by repeatedly voicing “unfounded” claims of a “foreign conspiracy.”
Promising to reduce the prices of essential commodities in Punjab, he also announced that the new government would work toward infrastructure development, including building new roads and educational institutions in the Gujrat region.