KARACHI - Federal Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar on Sunday termed the protest rally called by opposition parties under the banner of Pakistan Democratic Movement as a criminal act and grave violation of coronavirus SOPs.

While addressing a news conference along with Federal Ports and Shipping Minister Ali Zaidi, he said that Nawaz Sharif was a convict and a prisoner when he left the country to seek medical treatment. “He is now hiding in London and launching attacks on national institutes.”

Asad Umar asked as to why Nawaz did not call for supremacy of law when he came to power using General Jillani and ruled Punjab using General Ziaul Haq. He also criticised PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif for “selling India’s narrative” and speaking against state institutions.

The PTI leader said that while the former premier criticises national institutions so openly, he has never raised his voice against human rights violations in India or spoken about Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav.

The planning minister further said while Nawaz’s supporters insist that the former prime minister only have issues with a few army officials and not the entire institution. However, he said, the former premier’s relationship with generals during his past three tenures had always been thorny.

He, however, lamented that the PML-N supremo has always criticised those institutions which refused to accept pressures from him. “He even did not spare the NAB chairman appointed by him,” Asad Umar said adding that neither institutions would obey him nor his threats would serve his cause.

The federal minister said that PML-N leaders had met the army chief to secure an NRO for Nawaz and his daughter Maryam Nawaz. “They sent an emissary to the army chief, he criticised recently in Gujranwala rally, to secure a deal but failed to secure any guarantees,” he said adding that their envoy told them that the army chief is his old friend and he went to play ludo with him.

“He enjoyed playing ludo so much that he went again a week later and then he found out that DG ISI enjoyed ludo as well so you arranged a meeting with him as well,” Umar said. He said that Nawaz started speaking out against the military after he “failed” to secure an NRO.

Speaking on the occasion, Ali Zaidi accused the joint opposition of running a ‘save corruption movement.’

He maintained that PML-N and PPP did nothing for the masses. The minister said that PPP had been ruling Sindh for over 12 years but it could not provide even potable water to the masses.

Asad Umar also said that the former premier “has a problem with state institutions and not just individuals.” “Mian sahib, your threats won’t work now. The time for questions has passed, and now you have to answer.” He went on to say, “If you are truly brave, why couldn’t you speak about [Indian spy] Kulbhushan Jadhav [...] Why don’t you lash out at India?” he asked.