Maryam Nawaz hints at dialogue with Army from PDM platform

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LONDON: PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz on Thursday hinted at the possibility of a dialogue between her party and the army from the platform of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) — an alliance of 11 opposition parties — but said that for any such talks to happen, they would have to be held in front of the public — not in secret — and only after the “selected” government was sent packing.

In an interview with BBC Urdu, Maryam revealed that members of the security establishment had reached out to “many people around me but nobody has directly contacted me”.

LAHORE: Maryam Nawaz, Vice President, Pakistan Muslim League (N) waving hand to Party workers at NAB court after hearing cases against Shahbaz Sharif and Hamza Sharif.

On a question whether she was ready to hold talks with the current army leadership, whom the PML-N supremo and her father, Nawaz Sharif, has accused of being behind his”ouster” as prime minister, Maryam said that the “possibility of initiation of dialogue from the PDM’s platform could be thought about but after the selected government has been sent home”.

“The army is our institution. We will definitely talk but within the limits of the Constitution. Talks will be held within the limits prescribed by the Constitution and it will be in front of the public, not in secret.”

Maryam said that she was not “against the institution but if we are to move forward, the selected government will have to go”.

In September, PML-N supremo Nawaz had banned his party members from holding individual, private or delegation-level meetings with the country’s military leadership. He said if necessitated by national security or constitutional requirements, such meetings in the future will be approved by the party’s leadership and will be made public.

Maryam said she was ready to talk to “all stakeholders”. However, when asked whether she would talk to the incumbent government of Prime Minister Imran Khan, Maryam said that “the dialogue will be held with the people of Pakistan. It is being held with the people of Pakistan and it is going so well that the forces and the fake government are worried. “They are so worried they don’t know how to react and they’re making such mistakes in their confusion that the mind is shocked,” she said, adding that the people of the nation were the “real stakeholders”.

In response to another question, Maryam said that the PML-N’s politics was not headed towards a dead-end. Instead, she continued, the ones going towards a dead-end were those who had tried to make this temporary [government].

“Wherever we are going, whether it be Gujranwala, Karachi, Quetta or Gilgit Baltistan, only one narrative is echoing: vote ko izzat do (honour the vote) and riyasat ke upar riyasat mat banao (do not make a state above the state). She added that the public had seen where this was going, which was not towards a dead-end but towards the supremacy of the Constitution and the law.

With regards to PPP Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari’s remarks that he was waiting for PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif to bring forth evidence of his claims that the army interfered in elections, Maryam said her father had said the words but the evidence was in front of the public.

In an interview last week, Bilawal had said he was “shocked” when Nawaz named Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Jawed Bajwa and Chief of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Lt Gen Faiz Hameed for being behind his ouster as premier, “bringing Imran Khan into power” and making a “state above a state”.

However, he went on to say that Nawaz — who has served as the country’s prime minister thrice — would not have taken the names of Gen Bajwa and Gen Faiz without evidence.