Expressing displeasure with her own government, PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz on Saturday asked why PTI Chairman Imran Khan was still “roaming free” despite the “damning evidence” against him of “conspiring against the country, foreign funding and selling national gifts”.
She asked the government to carry out Mar-a-Lago (former US president Donald Trump’s estate in Florida)-style raid at Imran’s Bani Gala residence to recover the “stolen copy of the cipher”.
Addressing a news conference in Lahore, Maryam said Imran had “concocted” a story of conspiracy against him to save his “drowning ship”.
“It was actually Imran Khan who was conspiring against the country by twisting the diplomatic cable and drawing a pre-conceived meaning out of it.”
Maryam was flanked by party leaders including newly-inducted Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, Federal Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah, Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb and senior party leader Pervez Rashid.
پاکستان مسلم لیگ ن کی مرکزی سینئر قیادت پریس کانفرنس کر رہی ہے https://t.co/uZJPMSO3rW— PML(N) (@pmln_org) October 1, 2022
The PML-N vice president maintained that no foreign dignitary was ready to talk to Pakistan because of the PTI chief’s “concocted conspiracy story”.
Referring to the recent audio leaks, Maryam said she would not be surprised if an audio surfaced wherein the PTI chairman was heard asking the people to make the appointment of the COAS controversial.
“Why is he (Imran) allowed to address students and why is he travelling from city to city to spread his message of hate?” she asked, again suggesting that Imran should be put behind bars.
The PML-N leader said a raid similar to the one carried out at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate should be carried out at Imran’s residence to recover the “stolen copy of cipher”.
“Imran Khan should apologise to the people for lying about [cipher] conspiracy and misleading the nation.”
On Friday, the federal cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, noted that the copy of the diplomatic cipher was missing from the records of the Prime Minister’s House.
While declaring the theft of the cipher from the records a serious matter, the cabinet formed a special committee to determine legal action against all those allegedly involved, including Imran Khan, ex-principal secretary to PM Azam Khan and senior ministers of the then PTI government.
Speaking about her and other party leaders’ audio leaks, Maryam maintained that they had not spoken anything against Pakistan in them.
“You must have heard my and other party leaders’ audio leaks but no one spoke against the country or the country’s integrity because we are ready to sacrifice our politics for Pakistan,” she said.
“You have also heard Imran’s audio leaks regarding the cipher in which he is playing with the country’s [interests].”
While referring to the notion that the former premier only took a diary along with him at the time of his ouster from the top office in April, the PML-N vice president alleged that Imran had “hidden the cipher in the diary and took it away with him”, adding that he had also “stolen 2,000 bottles of mineral water”.
Taking a dig at Imran, the PML-N vice president said the one who spoke about “haqiqi azadi march” (real freedom movement) had directed his party leaders not to name any country from where the cipher came.
“But when the name was taken, he (Imran) immediately corrected it,” said.
“Then a lobbying firm was hired in the United States to restore the relations, which will now tell the American rulers that it was only a slip of tongue by Imran. He is still your ‘subservient’”.
Maryam said her father Nawaz Sharif also received ciphers during his tenure as premier and faced “pressure from the US” at the time of atomic explosions. “But Nawaz Sharif rejected them saying absolutely not.”
She said Imran “defamed” the armed forces on the basis of a foreign conspiracy that never happened and added that “now the people knew that the real Mir Jaffar and Mir Sadiq (a reference to traitors) was him”.
Maryam, when asked about the issue of COAS extension, said since the matter had been laid to rest by the forces themselves, there was no need for any speculation
Responding to Maryam’s objection, Sanaullah said the government had decided during the cabinet meeting on Friday to take the cipher audio leaks issue before the parliament.
He said they hoped of getting parliament’s approval for booking Imran under treason charges and reminded Maryam that it was not PML-N’s but a coalition government wherein they had to take decisions in consultation.
Sanaullah said he had wanted to arrest the PTI chairman for “waging war” against state and trying to “attack” the federal capital, however, the cabinet did not give consent and instead made a sub-committee on the matter. “This time around however the response of the cabinet was firm.”
Dar, on the occasion, also demanded action against the PTI chairman for “stealing” the official document (cipher), saying nowhere else in the world was any one allowed to play with national security in a manner “Imran had been allowed”.
He blamed the former premier for the financial woes of the country, noting that turning things around would take time. He said since his return, the rupee had strengthened and petrol prices were brought down. He hoped the streak of positive developments would continue.
Dar said a “major security breach” occurred through the audio leaks of the Prime Minister's House. “Especially the cipher leaks ‘unmasked’ Imran Khan. He planned this matter and played with the country’s [interests].”
The finance minister lashed out at the PTI chairman, saying he was “power hungry” and wanted to be rule the country at “any cost”.
“If I am not in power, drop atom bomb on Pakistan,” Dar spoke metaphorically about Imran, adding that nobody will be allowed to destroy the economy of the country.
“The decision is that the matter will be taken forward under the Official Secret Act.”
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