PTI, PPP assail splashy ‘welcome for a convict’

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LAHORE: As the former prime minister Nawaz Sharif made a “grand comeback” to the country, both the PTI and the PPP on Saturday slammed the PML-N supremo’s power show for what they deemed as a “misuse of state resources to welcome a fugitive criminal”.

The grand event, touted to be a display of power elicited scathing criticism from PTI and PPP – a former ally of the Nawaz-led party – who rued that a “convict” had been allowed to present his “resume” and not narrative.

In a statement, the PTI claimed that a “concerted effort” was made to facilitate the return of Nawaz Sharif, calling him an “incompetent and convicted individual”.

The party’s spokesperson highlighted the “futile attempts” to secure public support through “inducements” such as “motorbikes, biryani and promises of salvation” during the address at the Minar-e-Pakistan.

The PTI “vehemently” condemned the “misuse of state resources and machinery to welcome a fugitive criminal,” the statement read.

Despite the lavish expenditure and strategic mobilisation, those responsible for the nation’s deteriorating state of affairs will ultimately face accountability, with no place to hide, the statement added.

The PTI spokesperson claimed that preferential treatment was given to “convicted criminal (Nawaz)”, and raised concerns about the “state’s role in facilitating his return to Lahore, despite his evasion of accountability”.

The spokesperson observed that justice and moral values were “undermined” for the sake of return of a “perpetrator”, and reiterated the commitment to bring the looted wealth back to the nation, despite any and all attempts at evasion.

‘Question mark on judiciary’

Separately, PPP Information Secretary Faisal Karim Kundi termed the Minar-e-Pakistan public gathering a “disappointing” event, saying a “convict” presented his “resume” instead of his narrative during his speech.

In a statement released by the party’s media cell, he raised concerns about the judiciary’s credibility due to the manner in which the fingerprints of a criminal (Nawaz Sharif) were taken with protocol.

Kundi was referring to Nawaz’s arrival in the federal capital in the afternoon where he completed legal and biometric formalities for bail in his court cases.

He noted that the PML-N supreme leader did not mention anything about the holding of upcoming general elections during his address.

Sarcastically, Kundi said, when “one blue-eyed boy (Imran Khan) was put in jail the other one (Nawaz) came from outside”.

“Nawaz took a big U-turn. He changed his stance (after coming from London).”

The PPP leader held the PML-N supreme leader responsible for the country’s “destruction”. “Bringing a criminal to Pakistan is tantamount to ‘killing justice’.”

In a video statement, PPP Central Punjab General Secretary Syed Hassan Murtaza termed the PML-N supremo’s rally a “dispiriting” gathering.

He said people did not come to the rally but were “gathered” for the purpose. “Nawaz Sharif’s speech appeared to be of a prisoner instead of a leader,” he said.

Murtaza observed that Nawaz’s Minar-e-Pakistan rally was a “no match” with assassinated PPP chairperson and former premier Benazir Bhutto’s October 18, 2007 Karasaz public address.

He maintained that the PML-N leader seemed to be exasperated by the demand for polls during his interaction with the media at Dubai airport.

He noted that Nawaz was a leader of a “big political party” and must “not have become the spokesperson of the election commission”.

Murtaza said whenever the PML-N supremo left the country after “striking a deal” following his ouster from power, PPP “paved the way for his return”.

The PPP has always discouraged him from evading election participation by emphasizing that democracy is the best revenge, he said. Nawaz should demand the date for polls, giving a push to the people’s call, he added.

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