ISLAMABAD: Top ministers in the federal cabinet of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Shibli Faraz, Asad Umar, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, and Fawad Chaudhry, on Monday responded to the criticism against the incumbent government and state institutions from the platform of the opposition-led All Parties Conference (APC). Information Minister Shibli Faraz said that they allowed the broadcast of speeches from opposition leaders on the orders of Prime Minister Imran Khan and further clarified that Maulana Fazlur Rehman’s live speech was censored by PPP, not the government. He blamed Nawaz Sharif for creating unnecessary controversy around the polls in 2018 and said that he did not raise any reservations over the polling processes which led him to power thrice in the country.
Shibli Faraz said that the PTI lost 16 constituencies with a close margin and could have attained a simple majority in the Parliament if they have won them. “Should we term these losses as rigging,” he asked. “Any election which culminates on PML-N’s loss is a rigged election,” he taunted and further asked as to why they don’t work on electoral reforms if they have issues over the outcome of the elections in the country. He further said that Nawaz Sharif looked healthy during his live address and asked him to refrain from creating controversy around the polls and democracy in the country. Speaking on the occasion, Planning and Development Minister Asad Umar said that the prime minister had correctly identified that it is not politics but the 20-year looted money which is at stake for the opposition leaders due to the policies of the incumbent government. “Opponents of the past have joined hands,” he said and lamented that the opposition parties intentionally opposed the FATF related bills to blackmail the government. Asad Umar said that the enemies of the country have realized that Pakistan is on track towards progress and were trying to create hindrances in the path. He, however, said that both civil and military leadership is working together to resolve the issues through coordinated efforts. He said that Nawaz Sharif is carrying out personal attacks against the armed forces and these remarks were the top news of the mainstream Indian media. “They criticize the NAB, whose chairman is being nominated by both PPP and PML-N,” he said. Shah Mahmood Qureshi also seconded him and said that joy was felt in India over the speech of Nawaz Sharif, who along with other opposition leaders criticized every state institution they feel threatened with during the APC. He said that the armed forces had sacrificed their lives for safeguarding the country. The foreign minister further said that opposition is raising hue and cry after they have realized that they would not be able to get an NRO this time. “They will not get their desired amendments in NAB law,” he said adding that yesterday’s conference was aimed at overthrowing the institution of NAB. Shah Mahmood Qureshi also rejected criticism from the APC platform over the government’s policy on Kashmir and Afghanistan and said that for the first time Pakistan is being lauded for highlighting the Kashmir issue at international platforms and playing a positive role in the Afghan peace process. Taking part in the presser, Fawad Chaudhry congratulated Shibli Faraz, saying that the Ministry of Information set a new precedent by allowing broadcast of Nawaz Sharif’s address yesterday. The media in Pakistan enjoys complete freedom, he added. Fawad Chaudhry said the main take away from the APC was that if the judiciary and the army do not stand by us, then there is none worse than them. Nawaz Sharif calls for the public to take to the streets while he himself sits in a Mayfair apartment. He admitted that letting the PML-N leader leave Pakistan was a mistake on the government’s part. The Federal Minister for Science and Technology said that Hussain Haqqani leads the pro-India clique sitting in the United States and Nawaz Sharif’s speech plays into their agenda. NNI