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Politicians being stigmatised in the name of corruption, says PML-N leader

Politicians being stigmatised in the name of corruption, says PML-N leader

ISLAMABAD: For a key lawmaker of the ruling party, the ongoing campaign against government institutions is meant to “demonise democracy and the current set-up and to replace it with some other system”.

Speaking at a press conference at the Press Information Department here on Tuesday, which was actually meant to criticise the PTI for its proposed seat adjustment with the PPP in local government elections in Punjab, Daniyal Aziz of the PML-N impetuously said: “It’s very unfortunate that day in and day out politicians are being stigmatised in the name of corruption, even though they are not as corrupt as the rest of the lot in the country.”

Also read: Seven opposition parties team up against PML-N for LG polls

Mr Aziz, who earned fame as chairman of the National Reconstruction Bureau during retired Gen Musharraf’s regime, had a point to defend his argument. “If read closely, in the fabled 29 cases of mega corruption recently presented by the National Accountability Bureau before the Supreme Court, 0.18 per cent corruption has allegedly been committed by the politicians while the rest is blamed on bureaucracy and others,” he said.

Mr Aziz joined the PML-N before the last general elections. Of late, he has emerged as a frontline defender of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his policies. His chief duty at present, along with MNA Talal Chaudhry and Privatisation Commission Chairman Mohammad Zubair, is to take on the PTI leadership at every given opportunity. The latter two were also present at the press conference.

Mr Aziz said he was surprised by the spate of calls being made from different corners to bring in a new system because the present one had failed to deliver.

Asked if by defending politicians he was also speaking for the PPP leadership which has been currently embroiled in corruption cases, he said: “Nobody is for corruption and whosoever has committed it must be taken to task, but to say that democracy has failed is outrageous.”

He didn’t specify on whose behalf, according to him, the ‘anti-democracy campaign’ is being conducted.

Referring to a recent report by the Transparency International, Mohammad Zubair claimed that corruption in high places had been on the decline since the PML-N came to power. The TI had declared the present government cleaner than its predecessors, he added.

SEAT ADJUSTMENT: The three PML-N leaders, one after another, took the PTI leadership to task for joining hands with the PPP in Punjab for the forthcoming local government elections.

They showed video clips of PTI Chairman Imran Khan pulverising PPP leaders during the sit-in last year for their alleged corrupt practices and vowing never to form an alliance with the party. “Once again Imran Khan has proved that he is master of U-turns,” Daniyal Aziz said.

During his visit to Sindh last week, the PTI chief didn’t miss any chance to hit out at the PPP for gulping public money and ignoring poor Sindhis. But in Punjab, Talal Chaudhry said, PTI leaders were hand in glove with the PPP, exposing Imran’s “devious politics”.

“Our increasing popularity has forced all political parties in Punjab to jointly contest elections against us because on their own they cannot defeat us,” he added.

He said the PTI had lost its ideological ground as its founding members like Justice Wajihuddin Ahmad had been shunned and replaced by “opportunists like Jahangir Tareen and Abdul Haleem Khan”.

Mr Zubair said the PTI had lost its direction and was only doing “traditional politics”, contrary to its slogan of change.

Both the PPP and PTI have clarified that they did not seal any election alliance, but only seat adjustments at the local level.

Published in Dawn, September 9th, 2015

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