Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) Senior Vice-President Maryam Nawaz on Sunday called for internal accountability of the judiciary, stressing that the country needs “honest” judges and not ones who are biased toward Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan.
Addressing a workers’ convention in Rawalpindi as part of her efforts to mobilize the party ahead of elections, Maryam referred to a recent audio leak allegedly featuring a conversation between former Punjab chief minister Parvez Elahi and a Supreme Court judge, saying any judge that becomes similarly controversial should have the “moral courage” to resign from their post. Stressing that her issue wasn’t with the judiciary as whole, the PMLN leader clarified that there were only some allegedly biased judges that were bringing a bad name to the institution.
“Imran Khan is looking to get support from the judiciary to come back to power after failing to get support from the establishment,” she alleged, adding that “some followers” of former spy chief Lt. Gen. (retd.) Faiz Hameed remained in the judiciary and must be held accountable.
Questioning the “special treatment” accorded to Khan in cases pending against him in courts, Maryam lamented that senior PMLN leaders, including former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, used to be summoned at an hour’s notice. She also lashed out at the PTI’s claims of the PMLN instigating against the judiciary, saying the audio leaks had proven it was the PTI who was indulging in such activities.
On the state of the national economy, the PMLN leader said it would take “years” to mend and demanded accountability for Khan’s alleged laying of “IMF minefields” and pushing the country to the brink of default. Regretting that the PTI had no projects to show their performance while in government, she claimed this was why they wished to utilize the crutches of the establishment. “Now that those crutches are gone, Imran is trying to use the judiciary,” she alleged.
Seeking to nullify a growing public perception that the ruling coalition, including the PMLN, is running from elections, she added: “The PMLN is not afraid of general elections because it believed in coming to power through a political process. It will not just be contesting the polls but winning them as well. The PMLN will save the country, pull it out of difficulties, and put Pakistan on the path to progress.”
The workers’ convention was also addressed by other party leaders, including former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah. In his speech, Sanaullah said the government would fulfill the PTI’s desire for a ‘Jail Bharo’ (fill jails) movement by imprisoning the party’s leadership while allowing workers and supporters to go free.