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Nawaz questions PAT’s ‘grand protest’ with elections around the corner

ISLAMABAD (Monitoring Desk): Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif questioned on Tuesday the timing of the ‘grand protest’ spearheaded by the Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) and supported by major opposition parties.

He was responding to reporters’ queries after attending the corruption hearing against him in the accountability court.

When asked about the PAT protest, which begins tomorrow, Nawaz wondered why “the maulana [cleric] from Canada is here at this time.” He was referring to PAT chief Dr Tahirul Qadri.

“If you think about the reasons, you’ll get the answers [to Qadri’s timing],” said Nawaz, adding that people will decide the country’s fate in the elections, which are only four months.

The PAT is protesting over the 2014 Model Town incident, in which its workers were killed in police firing, and demanding the dissolution of the government.

‘Balochistan CM issue a disservice to democracy’

When asked about the recent change of the chief minister in Balochistan, the former prime minister said the the Balochistan political issue needs to be taken seriously.

“This is a sick joke with the people,” said the Pakistan Muslim League-N president, adding that he has summoned a meeting with the party’s Baloch leadership on Thursday to find out why this happened.

The PML-N chief wondered how a person with 500 votes became the chief minister, adding that “this is a disservice to democracy, Pakistan and its people”.

Last week, the PML-N government in Balochistan was rocked with a crisis as Chief Minister Sanaullah Zehri was forced to resign following a no-confidence motion against him which was supported by some PML-N members.

The new chief minister, Abdul Quddus Bizenjo, hails from the PML-Quaid and bagged the 2013 election from Awaran District with around 550 votes due to a boycott by the separatists.

‘Pehla hafta zabardast, doosra zabardasti’

Accompanied by his daughter Maryam, also accused in the corruption case, Federal Health Minister Saira Afzal Tarar, his political aide Senator Asif Kirmani and other party leaders, Nawaz narrated a story about a famous big-budget film in Lahore in the 1960s.

“After it was released, amid much fanfare, someone asked the producer and director how the movie was faring, to which they replied “Pehlay haftay zabardast, doosray haftay zabardasti (The first week was great but the second was forced),” said Nawaz, linking the ‘grand’ and then ‘flop’ turn of the film to his own corruption cases.

Addressing reporters, he said, “you all are here every day and know how strong this case is”.

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