The Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) on Sunday pushed back against rivals criticizing it of securing a “selection” ahead of the upcoming general elections, with spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb claiming such comments indicated even the party’s opponents saw Nawaz Sharif becoming the next prime minister.
“We have to rise above our personal interests. Our political rivals can also see that Nawaz Sharif will become the next prime minister,” she told a press conference in Lahore. Referring to a statement of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari expressing trust in transparent elections, she said it was an “encouraging” development.
“We are not worried by any words or taunts. We have to give relief to the people,” she said, adding the PMLN’s election manifesto would focus on ensuring the public’s benefit. She also rubbished the perception that recent acquittals of PMLN leaders in courts indicated the establishment was clearing the way for Nawaz Sharif.
Maintaining PMLN President Shehbaz Sharif’s acquittal in the Ashiana-i-Iqbal Housing Scheme reference had vindicated him once more, she claimed the former prime minister had been implicated in fake cases due to his loyalty to his elder brother. She claimed the acquittals did not suggest support of the establishment, but rather established the cases were fake to begin with.
The PMLN spokesperson also slammed the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), reiterating that former prime minister Imran Khan was “imposed” on the country through rigging in the 2018 general elections. “Today’s youth must know what kind of game was played and the people had to bear the brunt of it,” she said, alleging the PTI’s government had damaged Pakistan’s economy, boosting unemployment.
Aurangzeb’s press conference came amidst the PMLN’s erstwhile ally PPP accusing it of seeking a return to power through “selection” rather than the people’s vote. However, it remains unclear who the PPP believes is doing the “selection,” as it maintains that it has no issues with the establishment and does not see it as manipulating the polls. The PTI, meanwhile, continues to lament the lack of a level-playing field, as its chairman remains incarcerated and several of its leaders and workers face police actions in connection with the May 9 riots.