ISLAMABAD: Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry on Tuesday has alleged that “PML-N’s Maryam Nawaz group” had leaked former Chief Justice Saqib Nisar’s ‘fake’ audio clip to bring senior officials, including judges, under pressure.
Addressing a post-Cabinet press conference in Islamabad, the federal minister made the remark in reference to a leaked audio clip, purportedly of a conversation between Saqib Nisar and an unidentified man regarding PML-N leaders Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz’s trial.
Fawad Chaudhry referred to a report by Samaa on the matter and commended the news website for exposing the “fake clip”. “Now since the clip has been proven fake, it’s clear that the only objective behind it was to pressurise the judiciary,” he commented.
“The PML-N started the ‘why was I ousted’ in the past to pressurise the generals in armed forces. When case proceedings are under way in the court, they are running a similar campaign, believing that they will be able to pressurise judges,” he claimed.
However, Fawad said, the judiciary would “reject” this, adding that Maryam had been involved in getting fake clips made in the past as well. “I can’t think of anything similar to what the PML-N’s Maryam Nawaz group is doing,” he said.
Referring to an event in Islamabad and the Asma Jahangir Conference in Lahore, in which PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif’s address via a video link was disrupted, the minister said the seminars were held with foreign funding.
“Today, in the cabinet meeting, Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari urged the Foreign Office to discuss the matter with the donors of the events under section 41 of the Vienna Convention,” he told media persons.
Talking about the electronic voting machines, Fawad said the federal cabinet had formed a committee to deal with the nitty-gritties of using EVMs in the next elections and corresponding with the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).
He added that the government would provide all the needed assistance to the electoral body in this regard, while stressing that EVMs would surely be used to cast votes in 2023 elections.
“The PML-N should be grateful to the government as it would be for the first time that Nawaz Sharif’s sons, who had been living outside Pakistan, would be able to vote in the general elections,” he said while responding to criticism.
Commenting on the rising inflation, Fawad also complained that a rise in the prices was always highlighted in the news but not when prices reduced. “The price of sugar was expected to decrease in the coming days and those of tomatoes and onions had already decreased”, he added.
Admitting that fuel and electricity prices had increased, he said the rise could be accommodated since the prices of edibles had decreased. However, he added, “the biggest issue in this regard is of Sindh, particularly Karachi.”
After the 18th Amendment, the minister explained, the federal government could only devise a policy and taking actual steps to address the issue was the provincial government’s prerogative.