PTI distances itself from Gill's remarks

Fawad says former special assistant could have chosen words wisely

Our Correspondent August 11, 2022
Former information minister Chaudhry Fawad Hussain. PHOTO: PID/FILE


Former federal minister and PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry on Thursday asserted that PTI leader Shahbaz Gill’s narrative was “not the party’s stance”, saying that “every person has their own opinion”.

Talking to Javed Chaudhry on Express News, Fawad, however, still insisted that “Shahbaz Gill should be forgiven after withdrawing his statement”.

“Those who know him [Gill] personally, know him as a patriot,” Fawad said, insisting that the PTI was a party with a “pro-Pakistan policy”.

Separately, while addressing a news conference here, Fawad said that if Article 6 starts to be applied, there would be fewer ropes in the country because “there are more necks”.

The PTI leader said that the word of justice in Pakistan would prevail only when the rich and the poor were punished equally. “It cannot happen that the weak are picked up and put in jail and the strong man gets relief.” He said as long as this system was in place, Pakistan would be called a banana republic – a term used for a politically unstable state.

He said that those who were trying to create a “rift between Pakistan Army and us are foolish people” who will face failure. “The incumbent cabinet is not able to go out because people take off their shoes when they see them … they have increased the electricity prices so much that it is impossible for the poor to live.”

Accusing the PPP and the PML-N of all the ills that have befallen the country, the PTI leader said that Zardari, the Sharif family and all such people belong to a system where there was no hard work but looting, corruption and robbing the rights of others were rampant. “These people come to power and loot the country because their houses and properties are in Dubai and London.”

He said, “Even today there is an open-shut case of money laundering worth of Rs24 billion against (Prime Minister) Shehbaz Sharif, but he is sitting in power, while his son [Hamza Shehbaz] was also made the chief minister, against whom cases of irregularities are pending.”

On the “grand gathering” in Lahore on August 13, Fawad said no one's property was ever damaged in the PTI’s gatherings. “The people of Lahore will prove that their hearts are with the PTI.”

Fawad said that the information ministry’s ship sunk when Marriyum Aurangzeb was made its minister, while “we took PTV out of loss and made it a profitable organisation”.

“Marriyum says that Imran Khan is sweating … actually Imran Khan is an athlete who exercises for two hours daily,” Fawad said, challenging the PML-N leaders to compete with Imran Khan in the athlete category.

On Wednesday, a joint inquiry team formed by the government detected a total of 774 social media accounts responsible for a bulk of misleading claims and smear campaign against the military, with many of them found to be operating from India as well as from within the country.

Meanwhile, PTI chief Imran Khan had claimed that a “conspiracy” was being hatched to pit his party against the military.

However, the government had accused the PTI chief of diverting public attention from its prohibited funding case by running a malicious campaign against the army on social media.

Fawad reiterated that attempts to create a divide between his party and the army were “absurd”, while conceding that the words in the statement given by former special assistant to the prime minister Gill could have been “chosen wisely”.

Read Fawad cautions against rift between army, PTI

Speaking at the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa House in Islamabad, the PTI leader appeared to be distancing his party from Gill’s controversial statement, saying "it could have been phrased wisely". However, he asked why the leaders of the ruling coalition were not facing any condemnation for remarks against the army.

“Imran has clearly said that he does not have a penny abroad … the person who has all the interests in Pakistan would always want the country’s army to strengthen,” he said.

The former information minister's statements came following the controversy sparked by Gill’s comments and opinions on a private TV channel after a helicopter crash in which six army officers, including Quetta Corps Commander Lt Gen Sarfraz Ali, embraced martyrdom.

Earlier this week, Gill was also arrested on charges of sedition and inciting the public against state institutions.

The government has since berated the former ruling party for spreading hate against the state institutions and running a malicious campaign against the military on social media.

Clearing the air about PTI’s stance on the matter, Fawad said PTI chief Imran firmly believed that Pakistan’s progress was directly dependent on its army.

“Whatever Imran Khan has done for the country, it is for the public and Pakistan’s public and army are not separate … the army is a part of the people.”

He deplored that the way a divide was being orchestrated through a “conspiracy” was very disappointing. Referring to Gill’s arrest, he said the country was seeing a “new era of atrocities and barbarism”.

“Women and children are being picked up,” he lamented, referring to the recent arrest of the wife of Gill’s driver.


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