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Imran Khan’s Party Can Now Fit In A Rickshaw: Nawaz Sharif’s Daughter

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Imran Khan's Party Can Now Fit In A Rickshaw: Nawaz Sharif's Daughter

Maryam Nawaz was addressing a youth convention in Shujaabad in Punjab province. (File)

Lahore:

The entire party of ousted premier Imran Khan can fit in a rickshaw following large-scale defections from Pakistan’s main opposition party in the aftermath of the May 9 violence, the ruling PML-N’s senior leader Maryam Nawaz has said, in a jibe at the former prime minister.

“Today he is the president, general secretary, chief organiser and spokesperson of the party and the only candidate of his party,” Ms Maryam, the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) Senior Vice President, said while addressing a youth convention in Shujaabad in Punjab province on Sunday.

Now the entire opposition party can fit in a “Qingqi rickshaw” following defections in the wake of the May 9 violence, she said, referring to a type of imported rickshaw in Pakistan.

0ver 20 military installations and government buildings including the military headquarters in Rawalpindi were damaged or torched during the violent protests by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf workers following the arrest of Khan in a corruption case by the paramilitary Rangers last month. Khan was later released on bail.

Ms Maryam said that Imran Khan talked about his so-called political struggle of 26 years. “Let me tell you… his 26-year-long struggle took only 26 minutes to be dismantled. Now he will sit all alone in Zaman Park and all those leaders who quit him have gone from where they had come,” she said.

“Imran Khan tried his best to make the Pakistan Army surrender to his will after being removed from power through a parliamentary vote of no-confidence (in April last year) but his attempt backfired and now he is facing the music,” said Ms Maryam, the daughter of three-time premier Nawaz Sharif.

She said Imran Khan had revolted against the Pakistan Army by attacking its institutions on May 9.

“The chapter of chaos and anarchy has ended and now the journey of progress will begin,” the PML-N leader added.

Imran Khan is the mastermind of the May 9 attacks on defence and civilian installations, but now he is begging for talks and meetings, she said.

She said the real enemy of the country was identified after the May 9 violence which saw attacks on public and military installations in many parts of the country following the arrest of the PTI chief.

In the military establishment-backed crackdown on the PTI, over 100 party leaders and former lawmakers have defected and joined the ‘king’s party’ Istekham Pakistan Party (IPP) led by Khan’s former aide Jahangir Khan Tareen so far.

Dozens of PTI leaders including Shireen Mazari, Fawad Chaudhry, Aamir Mehmood Kiani, Ali Zaidi and others have quit the party while senior leaders like Asad Umar and Parvez Khattak stepped down from party positions.

Imran Khan declared he would continue fighting for his cause even though all leaders of his party quit.

Ms Maryam said Imran Khan had set the country on fire and his supporters desecrated memorials of “army martyrs” in May and he can’t be forgiven for this.

“Your (Khan) own sons are living in the UK but you trained the poor party workers to attack the army installations. You are holed up in your house in Zaman Park Lahore and recording statements on YouTube while the mothers of the youth arrested in May 9 incidents are weeping outside the jail for their sons,” she said.

Last week, Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari said that Imran Khan is not against the army’s interference in politics but is upset with the powerful establishment only because it is no longer supporting him.

“Khan’s problem with the Pakistan Army began in April of last year when it declared that it would not get involved in politics and would not take sides,” Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari told Qatar-based Al Jazeera news channel on Saturday.

The foreign minister said that the former-cricketer-turned politician’s rise to power in 2018 is well-documented. “It is an established fact that he was brought into power through a rigged election in collaboration with some former officers of the Pakistan Army.” Irman Khan was ousted from power in April last year after losing a no-confidence vote in his leadership, which he alleged was part of a US-led conspiracy targeting him because of his independent foreign policy decisions on Russia, China and Afghanistan.

Since then, Imran Khan has been demanding early general elections in Pakistan.

The PML-N-led coalition government has rejected his demand and senior ministers have said that elections will be held according to the provisions of the Constitution.

The current term of the National Assembly will end in August this year and fresh elections are expected to be held in October.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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