KARACHI: Caretaker Punjab Chief Minister Dr Hasan Askari Rizvi refuted all the allegations levelled by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leadership, saying the Lahore welcome rally for former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and daughter Maryam was an “attempt to challenge the writ of law”.
“Freedom only makes sense under the writ of law, but freedom negating the rule of law makes the state evaporate into thin air,” he said during an exclusive interview with Mansoor Ali Khan in Tribune 24/7 show Inside Politics Friday night.
“Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz on July 13 were court convicts, any of the [party] workers couldn’t have been allowed meeting them as judgment of the court cannot be judged, it can only be challenged in a higher court,” the caretaker CM said.
The former prime minister, who had arrived in Pakistan from London last week, is currently serving his sentence in Adiala Jail, while his daughter is also an inmate of the same prison. Nawaz was awarded 10, Maryam seven and her husband Captain (retd) Safdar one year jail terms in Avenfield reference by the accountability court earlier this month.
Several PML-N workers were arrested for their active participation in a rally on July 13 to express solidarity with the former prime minister, who was returning from London to the Allama Iqbal Airport in Lahore.
Denying any pressure from the establishment on the caretaker setup, Dr Askari opposed to any knowledge of the PML-N facing oppression, repression from the military.
Answering a question on the need of security arrangements in Lahore following the arrival of Nawaz and Maryam, the caretaker CM said the arrest of 17,000 PML-N workers is a ‘joke’ as only 165 were detained.
Containers were placed on few points not every nook and corner, he said, adding that they were part of the security plan which the caretaker government inherited from the previous government.
Shedding light over booking PML-N leaders for terrorism following the July 13 hiatus, the Punjab CM denied possibility of any arrests saying that terrorism charges initially pressed by police stand scrapped.
Addressing the controversy surrounding his role as a caretaker CM, Dr Askari termed Pakistani politics polarised to the extent that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s selection of him for the position was bound to become ‘controversial’ as PML-N already had its reservations.
“Any caretaker CM is bound to attract criticism from either this party or that,” he remarked.
Dr Askari also maintained that his role as an analyst and as a caretaker chief minister cannot be in any way overlap each other as both capacities are different.
“The caretaker Punjab government is not partisan instead is trying to ensure free and fair elections in Punjab,” he added.
Earlier today, PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif mocked the caretaker Punjab government, saying it is acting as a pawn to the Imran Khan-led PTI – arch-rivals of the former ruling party.
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