LAHORE - Former Punjab minister and PML-N leader Rana Mashhood Ahmad Khan stirred furor yesterday when he stated that the PML-N was going to form government in Punjab in next two months after his party had mended fences with the establishment through the efforts of former chief minister Shehbaz Sharif.

The PTI government strongly reacted to Mashhood’s statement terming it his ‘daydreaming’ while the PML-N spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb also disowned the same terming his remarks his personal opinion which was nothing to do with the party.

Earlier talking to a private TV channel, Rana Mashhood said that the PML-N’s relations with the establishment had been improved and the latter had got the disillusionment about the PTI government which, he added, had turned out to be a ‘mule’ when the establishment had thought it a ‘horse’.

“The PTI has failed to deliver,” he said, alluding to what in his view, establishment opined about the present government. According to former minister, the think-tanks of the institutions in the changed environment understand that the PTI rely only on lies. He said now the establishment and the PML-N have restored their ties wherein Shehbaz played a pivotal role.

“Shehbaz has always been acceptable to them (establishment) as he talks of new charter. Now they regret for not picking up Shehbaz and feel the situation would have been different and Pakistan would not have been carrying the beggar’s bowl today had Shehbaz been in the premier office,” he added.

He said if the PTI Punjab government continued to perform badly, the PML-N would be able to form government in the province in next two months.

Mashhood said the PML-N was in favour of the institutions and opposed the elements which used them for their purposes. The PML-N interaction with the institution was far better than it was in the past, he said, adding “These institutions are ours and we will always stand for their respect.”

However, the PML-N officially disowned the statement of Mashhood describing the same as his personal view and not the party stand. PML-N spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb said the party was going to seek explanation from Mashhood relating to his statement. Terming his statement surprising, she said the party leadership did not have any link whatsoever with what Rana said.

Former Punjab law minister in the PML-N government Rana Sanaullah also disowned the statement of Mashhood and said, “The PML-N believes in force of the vote and democracy instead of coming into power through any other means.”

Punjab Minister for Information Fiazul Hassan Chouhan rubbished the statement of former minister as day dreaming. He said it was an attempt to malign the establishment and vitiate credibility of the last election. He said the PTI had come into power through a democratic process and not through any outside support. He asked the PML-N to wait for five years, when the next election will be held, if it has to materialise its dream of coming to the power again.

Political observers have interpreted the statement of Rana Mashhood as a planned move to get Shehbaz closer to the establishment and distance him from the standpoint his elder brother and PML-N Quaid Nawaz Sharif holds about this institution. They say the statement has been made to avoid the possible action by NAB against the former chief minister by way of bringing him closer to the establishment and also attract vote for the party in the coming by-election by giving impression of the PML-N government going to be established in Punjab in near future.

Meanwhile, Rana Mashhood has contradicted the statement as out of context. In his explanatory statement aired by media the same evening, Mashhood said the TV channel did not broadcast what he had actually said rather, his statement was created by joining different clips of his talks. He also termed fabrication of his statement contrary to the journalistic ethics.

APP adds: Director General of Inter-Services Public Relations on Tuesday termed the statement of PML-N leader Rana Mashhood as irresponsible. “Attribution of an obvious vested statement by Rana Mashhood is baseless and regrettable. Such irresponsible expressions are detrimental to stability in the country,” he said in a statement on his official Twitter handle.


PML-N disowns Mashhood’s remarks about ties with establishment