Maryam’s tone was regrettable, but we know how to respond to taunting remarks: PPP

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PPP leaders have responded to PML-N Vice-President Maryam Nawaz’s comments made against the PPP a day earlier, saying that while Maryam’s tone was regrettable, the party knows how to respond to taunting remarks.

In this regard, a joined press conference was held by PPP’s Senator Sherry Rehman, Maula Bux Chandio, and Shazia Marri on Sunday.

During the conference, Marri said that while Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari adopted a “political tone”, Maryam Nawaz’s tone in yesterday’s press conference was “regrettable”.

“We were sorry to see the word ‘selected’ being used to describe the PPP,” Marri said. “However, the PPP knows how to respond to every taunting remark.”

“There are people in PML-N who understand the delicacy of the occasion. We will continue democratic traditions inside and outside the parliament,” she said.

She added that the PPP has reservations against the candidate PML-N had chosen for the Leader of the Opposition post in Senate, namely, Azam Nazeer Tarar.

On the other hand, Senator Sherry Rehman said that Maryam Nawaz must “reorient her political objectives” and “stick to [the aim of] ousting the PTI-led government [instead of issuing controversial statements]”.

“We do not want the PDM (Pakistan Democratic Movement) to dissolve, therefore, the PML-N should refrain from issuing remarks that would empower the selected government,” Rehman stressed.

Adding to the comments, Maula Bux Chandio said that the PDM is neither “anyone’s property” nor “a child’s play.” “Therefore, saying that the long march will not take place is [inappropriate],” Chandio said.

Maryam Nawaz says PPP should follow Imran Khan if it wants to be ‘selected’ Maryam Nawaz, a day earlier, had lashed out publicly at the PPP for “sacrificing everything” for a “minor, inconsequential office”.

Her remarks followed the PPP’s move to round up 30 senators and go ahead to secure Leader of the Opposition in the Senate position for its candidate, Yousaf Raza Gillani, without the PDM’s blessing.

The numbers comprised 21 senators from the PPP itself, 2 senators from the Awami National Party, 1 senator of the Jamaat-i-Islami, 2 independents from FATA and a group of 4 ‘independents’ led by Senator Dilawar Khan that had broken away from the Balochistan Awami Party to support Gillani’s candidature.

When asked what her party’s strategy would now be; what holds for the future of the PDM; and if the events of a day earlier marked the PPP’s departure from the PDM, Maryam Nawaz desisted from giving a definitive answer but made her displeasure known.

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“I am waiting for PDM President Maulana Fazlur Rahman to make his position on this matter public. However, I deeply regret that despite understanding the situation and despite having the wisdom, you [Gillani] have dealt a massive blow to democracy, our cause and the public’s struggle for their right to rule for a very minor and inconsequential office.”

“I also feel this damage has been done primarily to you, because the people are watching who is standing where and who is continuing to struggle,” she continued.

“This is not the PDM’s defeat, of which the PML-N remains a part. It is the defeat of the people who sacrificed their principles for an inconsequential office,” Maryam had said.

Maryam Nawaz had also said that if the PPP “really wanted this meaningless and inconsequential post,” then it should have consulted with Nawaz Sharif.

‘You should follow Imran Khan if you want to be selected’

Maryam went on to claim that the PML-N’s candidate for opposition leader in the Senate, Azam Nazeer Tarar, had received a phone call from Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani offering him the support of three or four BAP senators for his candidature.

“He [Tarar] told him I don’t need your votes. I am with my party and my party has a position which I will not betray. I cannot betray the PDM.”

“This is the first time in Pakistan’s 73-year history — probably in the history of the entire world, that the Leader of the Opposition has been elected — rather selected — by government senators.”

“Have you ever seen this happen?”

“If you feel that the public will not know [what you’ve done] if you call them [BAP senators] ‘independents’, then I think you’re only fooling yourself,” she said, referring to a press conference a day earlier in which Gillani had explained his party’s rationale and reasons for securing the post.

“If you want to be subservient; if you want to to be selected, then you should follow Imran Khan, who does this stubbornly and shamelessly. You can’t be both here and there — sometimes in the opposition and sometimes in the government,” she continued.

“You should accept openly that you have taken orders from the [BAP’s] patrons, accepted them and used them.”

“When you no longer believe you have public support and feel that there is no way to get power without being selected, it means you have lost the power of the vote.”

“The lines have been drawn and everyone knows where each party stands. You have been voted for by BAP, on the direction of its patrons, and you should accept it.”