Former prime minister and PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif on Wednesday said that he has been informed that “someone else” was running the parliament, in lieu of its members.
“People tell me that someone else is running the parliament. Other people come and give directions about the day’s agenda and voting on bills etc,” he said while virtually addressing a meeting of the party’s Central Executive Committee.
Nawaz was echoing a sentiment expressed earlier by his daughter and PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz, who had said that political decisions should be made in the parliament, not at the General Headquarters.
Maryam was responding to a question from a reporter about Army Chief Gen Qamar Bajwa and head of the ISI Lt Gen Faiz Hameed’s meeting with key opposition figures.
Commenting on the country’s current political situation during today’s meeting, Nawaz said: “We have broken free of the colonisers only to be enslaved by our own. Today, we are not free citizens.”
In another video shared by Maryam, the former premier said that a colonel could be seen hiding his face during the hearing of a case against him by the National Accountability Bureau.
“What was the reason behind hiding his face? You were being insincere that’s why you hid your face,” he said.
Nawaz, in a separate statement released by the party, also said he was saddened by the arrest of his brother and Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif.
“However, our spirits will not be dampened by what is happening,” he said, adding that the party would double its efforts. “We are proud that our party workers are facing the current situation with courage. There is no example in history of the treatment meted out to our children,” he said.
He added that Shehbaz has shown unparalleled strength and courage during these times and paid tribute to his brother for serving the nation with honesty. “He worked day and night to set up power plants in Punjab.”
Nawaz also paid tribute to the efforts of government officers who played a role in addressing the energy shortage. Commending his brother on his resilience, he said Shehbaz never bowed down in the face of difficulty.
“Shehbaz has played a role in strengthening our narrative. I am proud of my brother who has sent an example of being loyal and committed to one’s ideology,” he said.
The meeting was called to discuss the situation arising out of Shehbaz’s arrest and to formulate a future strategy in light of the current political situation, PML-N spokeswoman Marriyum Aurangzeb said on Twitter earlier today.
‘Decisions in favour of the public’
Speaking to the media after the meeting, PML-N Vice President Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said that Nawaz had stressed that the opposition alliance should take decisions that would be in favour of the public.
In today’s meeting, Abbasi said, the alliance had decided what the opposition’s stance would be. He also criticised the government and said: “The speaker and the government runs the parliament. You have seen the way they run it. In two years, the problems of the people have not even been discussed once.”
Relations between the PTI-led government and opposition have become more tense in recent days after the latter held a conference where they announced a wide-ranging anti-government movement and criticised what they termed as the military’s interference in politics.
Following the conference on September 21, in which Nawaz had bitterly criticised the Army’s ‘interference in political matters’, a number of revelations came to the fore regarding civil-military meetings.
Most notably, it was disclosed that Army Chief Gen Qamar Bajwa and head of the Inter-Services Intelligence Lt Gen Faiz Hameed had held a meeting with key opposition figures days before their multiparty conference and counselled them to refrain from dragging the military into political issues.
Prime Minister Imran reportedly said he was aware of the meetings, and accused the opposition of wanting to create a rift between the government and the armed forces.