PML-N hits back at arch foes’ criticism

Information minister says Shehbaz ‘didn’t ask for’ five-carat diamonds


Our Correspondent September 26, 2022
Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb. PHOTO: APP/FILE

ISLAMABAD:

The ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) hit back at the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) criticism of the government in the wake of the purported audio leaks, with Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb saying on Sunday that nobody had benefitted unfairly.

In response to the remarks of former prime minister Imran Khan over the purported audio leaks, the minister claimed in a statement that the audios were the evidence that nothing illegal had happened.

Describing Imran’s speech as “shameless”, the information minister added that the power plant came from India according to the policy and law of the PTI chief‘s government.

Aurangzeb was referring to a purported conversation between a man, stated to be Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and a purported government official about Maryam Nawaz seeking the import of machinery for a power plant from India for her son-in-law.

The information minister advised the PTI chairman to read the decision of the Multan bench of the Lahore High Court's on 18 July, 2020 about the installation of a grid station at a housing society.

She added that the one who had traded Pakistan's independence, sovereignty and economy in exchange for foreign funding was now making noise -- apparently a reference to Imran.

The minister said the PTI chief had lost his mind in anger that Prime Minister Shehbaz had neither changed any policy, nor had he asked for land or five-carat diamonds.

Marriyum claimed that the frustration and pain of Imran stemmed from the fact that nothing illegal could be found in the audio leaks.

Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah while speaking on a private TV news channel’s show maintained that nothing conclusive could be said about the PMO’s security being breached until the leaks were investigated.

He added that if the investigation proved that it was not safe to talk in the Prime Minister’s House and somebody had actually bugged the place, then it was really serious.

However, he added that it was inappropriate to say this without evidence. The minister did not reject the content of the audios. He rather Insisted that they reflected the current regime’s “good governance”

He said PM Shehbaz had taken notice of the leaks and would consult his cabinet on the issue on Monday (today). Sanaullah further said the matter would be sorted out in the coming days.

Addressing a news conference in Faisalabad, PML-N leader Talal Chaudhry said the government was taking the leaks “very seriously” and demanded a probe into the matter.

He added that it was shocking that even the PM’s House was not safe. “Does this mean that the details of all national security meetings will be leaked internationally?” he questioned.

The PML-N leader questioned which elements were behind the leaks, demanding that they must be exposed.

Talking about the leaks at a news conference in Multan, JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman said the matter was “very concerning” and it required “strict action”.

“Today, the audio calls of the Prime Minister House are coming to the fore. Therefore, I urge him to take strict action and inquire as to who hacked the conversations,” he added.

The PML-N on its official Twitter handle shared documents that revealed that the permission for the installation of the grid station was given by the Lahore High Court in 2020.

In response to Imran’s speech, it wrote: Once a liar, always a liar!”

“This was [between] the tenure when Imran Khan was the selected PM and … busy brokering deals to open sealed real estate sites in exchange for diamond rings,” it added.

It claimed that 60% of the power plant under construction by the son-in-law of Maryam Nawaz was completed before 2020. The federal government had imposed a complete ban on all imports from India in 2020.

To Raheel’s query, the government responded that the policy had changed and he would have to find alternative means to finish the project.

After the government’s decision, Maryam Nawaz's son-in-law contacted China to import the power plant. However, the distribution company refused to provide a grid station for the housing society.

In 2020, the Lahore High Court had given a decision in favour of the housing society and against the distribution company. However despite the court’s decision, the grid station has not been installed yet.

(WITH INPUT FROM AGENCIES)

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