Government spokesman warns TV channels that broadcasting Sharif’s speech could result in penalties by PEMRA
Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif is set to virtually participate in the opposition’s multi-party conference tomorrow (Sunday) after being invited to address it by Pakistan Peoples Party Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari.
In a posting on Twitter, Bhutto-Zardari said he had called Sharif in London and invited him to attend the MPC. Senior Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) leaders, appearing on TV on Friday night, confirmed that Sharif would address the MPC, adding that Maryam Nawaz was also scheduled to attend the moot.
Nawaz Sharif has been in London since November 2019, when he was allowed to leave the country to seek medical treatment. The incumbent Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government has repeatedly accused him of avoiding his jail term on the pretext of medical concerns, with spokesperson Shahbaz Gill accusing the PMLN supreme leader of “lying” about his health. Earlier this week, the Islamabad High Court declared Sharif a “proclaimed offender” and directed the High Commission in the U.K. to seek his extradition.
In seeming confirmation of the government’s thus far unstated policy of restricting media coverage of the opposition, Gill on Saturday warned that the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority would penalize any channel that broadcasts Sharif’s speech.
The MPC being convened by opposition parties in Islamabad on Sunday is expected to formulate a joint strategy against the PTI’s governance, sugar and wheat scandals, and ongoing inflation.
PPP Secretary General Nayyar Husain Bukhari said the party was hosting the MPC and had issued invitations for it to all opposition parties. He said the PMLN delegation would comprise Shahbaz Sharif, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Ahsan Iqbal, Khawaja Asif, Ayaz Sadiq, Ameer Maqam and Maryam Aurangzeb; while the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (Fazl) delegation would include Maulana Fazlur Rehman, Akram Durrani and Abdul Ghafoor Haideri. Other opposition parties have also sent names of their delegates, he said, adding that every party had the discretion to make any changes to its delegations prior to the launch of the conference.