Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) Senior Vice-President Maryam Nawaz on Monday kicked off her party’s election campaign with a rally in Okara, promising supporters that if elected to power, the PMLN will ensure cheap electricity, gas and a better standard of living for the masses.
“If a person loves Pakistan, then they will not vote for anyone but Nawaz Sharif,” she said, claiming her father was heading a meeting in Lahore to devise a plan to provide cheap utilities to the public and ensure relief from inflation. She claimed the PMLN would improve the education and public health sectors and also provide solar panels to every household to address the electricity crisis if it emerged victorious in the upcoming polls.
“You have to stamp the lion on election day. Stamp on lion symbol on Feb. 8 to make the country rich. Our government’s entire focus will be on cutting inflation. My main focus will be on improving youth’s future,” she said, urging the rally’s participants to vote for the PMLN in large numbers.
Vowing that the PMLN would not just work before elections but also after them, she slammed Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) founder Imran Khan for alleging Nawaz was contesting polls “with umpires of his choice.” The “real umpire” of the PMLN leader, she maintained, was the public and it would bring him back to power again.
At the outset, Maryam said her father had sent her to Okara to formally launch the PMLN’s election campaign. Slamming the PTI founder, she accused him of orchestrating the May 9 riots and derided the party’s criticism over losing its electoral symbol. “A terrorist group could not be given a political party’s electoral symbol,” she said, without directly naming the PTI.
“Your [Imran Khan] electoral symbol should be the watch that you stole or the petrol bomb that you hurled on police officials,” she said, claiming “what goes around comes around.” She said the PTI was reaping what it had sown, stressing Khan used to be the ‘ladla’ (blue-eyed boy). Nonetheless, she said, neither the PMLN, nor Nawaz, wanted any revenge for the PTI’s actions. “The court of fate has taken a suo motu of Nawaz’s oppression … when a person is truthful and honest like Nawaz, they stand like a lion whatever may come,” she added.
“The facility to get verdicts by calling the judge’s mother-in-law is not available anymore,” she said, and “advised” the PTI to make sure its lawyers were fully prepared when they appeared in court. She said the party had likely believed it could win the upcoming elections like it had the 2018 polls by shutting down the RTS. “This facility was no longer available,” she added.
The PMLN has lagged behind other parties in launching its campaign, with the party claiming it wished to ensure it allocated tickets to the best candidates before approaching the public for its support. The party has also indicated that it would unveil its election manifesto this week, less than a month before elections are due on Feb. 8.