Maryam may start mass contact drive from Sindh

LAHORE: Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) vice president Maryam Nawaz has declared that she cannot be intimidated and now nobody can stop her from going to the masses against the ‘selected’ Imran Khan government.

“I have seen imprisonment, exile and political victimisation…what else is there in waiting. These things cannot make me afraid anymore and stop me from going to the masses. A comprehensive schedule of my mass contact has been prepared and I will be among them (masses) soon,” Maryam Nawaz told reporters after meeting the families of PML-N leaders Khwaja Saad Rafique and Khwaja Salman Rafique.

She said she would not stop calling the Imran Khan government ‘selected and puppet’ that had come to power after ‘stealing’ the people’s mandate. “This government is formed through a conspiracy. Nobody can stop me from calling this government selected,” she declared.

Ms Maryam apparently responded to special assistant to prime minister Firdous Ashiq Awan who warned her against taking hard stance against the premier especially calling him “selected and incompetent.”

She said her father Nawaz Sharif asked her to go to the masses not for his sake but for the people whose lives had been made miserable by the PTI government in just 10 months. She said the budget had inflicted great misery on the people and the opposition would resist the government’s effort to get it passed.

“The government is arresting the opposition members to pave the way for the passage of the budget. Whosoever will be part of the passage of this anti-people budget will not escape the masses’ wrath,” she warned and added that all opposition parties were united in sending this “inept” government home. “This PTI government is so incompetent that even if it arrests all opposition members [still] it cannot function. This is the first government that is protesting against the opposition.”

When asked about her meeting with PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari on Sunday last, Maryam said: “We talked about launching a protest drive, in-house change and the change of the Senate chairman. However, a final decision will be made at the multi-party conference (MPC).”

To a question about the formation of the National Development Council (NDC), she said in the presence of some other [such] forums there was no need for it. “The opposition should raise this matter in the parliament.”

Ms Maryam said Saad Rafique was in jail because he defeated this “incompetent man” twice and the PML-N condemned this political victimisation.

A PML-N leader told Dawn that Maryam Bibi would hold public meetings across the country from next month. “In the first phase, she will visit Sindh and address public meetings and workers conventions in Karachi, Hyderabad and Mirpur Khas,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Punjab government has reportedly cancelled the scheduled meetings of some senior PML-N leaders with Nawaz Sharif at the Kot Lakhpat jail on Thursday (today).

However, the family members of Mr Sharif would be allowed to see him. The PML-N senior members were to brief the former premier on the upcoming MPC. Prisons IG Shahid Saleem was not available for comments.