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Imran Khan's PTI criticises 'VVIP protocol', use of govt resources to facilitate Nawaz Sharif's return to Pakistan

Lahore: Jailed former prime minister Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party has strongly criticised the ‘VVIP protocol’ given to ex-premier Nawaz Sharif upon his return to Pakistan, alleging that all federal and Punjab government resources were used to manage the return of a ‘convicted absconder’.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Secretary General Omar Ayub Khan said Sharif was being unjustly and unlawfully facilitated in everything, claiming that the people will however hold the ‘convicted prisoner’ accountable if no one else does, Dawn News reported.

“A convicted prisoner got VVIP protocol and the stateroom opened at Islamabad Airport to receive him,” Ayub Khan said, adding that Pakistan’s legal system has been completely destroyed by the three-time premier’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party.

The senior Sharif on Saturday received a rousing welcome at his arrival in Islamabad, marking an end to his four-year self-imposed exile in the United Kingdom. Commenting on photos of the 73-year-old PML-N supreme leader providing his biometrics at the airport, the PTI secretary general remarked ‘One country, two constitutions!’

“This picture is not only of Nawaz Sharif’s biometrics but of the funeral of Pakistan’s judicial system. The whole world had seen the coercion and treatment of Imran Khan for the same biometrics,” he said.

Khan was arrested by paramilitary forces on May 9 when he went to the Islamabad High Court complex for biometric tests. He was arrested on the charges of corruption in connection with the Al-Qadir Trust.

Commenting on the return of the elder Sharif, PTI senior leader Moonis Elahi said his return had been managed.

“Never in the history of Pakistan, a convicted absconder has been welcomed like this,” he said.

Apparently, Elahi said, court staff went to the airport to get his biometric attendance done, while in sharp contrast, another prime minister (Imran Khan) was picked up from court while giving his biometrics for attendance.

Elahi claimed the Punjab government had instructed all deputy commissioners to provide transport as well as ensure the attendance of government employees such as ‘patwaris’.

“King of Patwaris is coming so all patwaris must attend!!!,” he commented.

The PTI said the people of Lahore completely rejected the PML-N and its absconding leader’s homecoming after four years of self-exile, which began with a request for medical treatment in London on a Rs 100 affidavit.

They alleged that the establishment fully supported the party’s call so that people from across the country reach Punjab and gather at the rally venue, Minar-e-Pakistan, in Lahore.

The PTI supporters ran two Twitter trends against the PML-N supremo and its power show and posted videos.

About Sharif’s speech, former PTI spokesman Shahbaz Gill commented the PML-N supremo has “dampened the hopes” of those who thought his “meanness might have scaled down”.

Referring to the increase in power, gas and petrol rates, Gill commented that the elder Sharif was criticising the Shehbaz Sharif government’s tenure. “Lost affection for his brother,” Gill remarked.

PTI Central Punjab general secretary Hammad Azhar said the crowd at the venue of the public meeting remained disinterested and scattered.

He posted a video reportedly showing people leaving the venue even before the PML-N supremo could complete his speech.

In another statement issued by the PTI, a party spokesperson deplored that the state buried all the decency, modesty, law and justice to facilitate the unhindered and smooth homecoming of a person under a ‘London Plan’, without elaborating the details of the alleged plan.

He stated that after the regime change conspiracy, the Constitution and democracy-weary state elements tied the country and the nation in the chains of dictatorship and threw it to corrupt wolves.

The PTI spokesperson said PTI Chairman Imran Khan had decided 27 years ago to launch an unprecedented political struggle against such a partnership between crime and the state.

The PTI spokesperson made it clear that under the leadership of cricketer-turned-politician Khan, the conscious nation was standing firmly in the face of forces that conquered the country through conspiracy, coercion, state power, thieves, thugs, fraudsters and mafias.

(Published 22 October 2023, 14:23 IST)

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