Punjab’s Minister for Information and Culture, according to Daily Jang (11 February 2019), is of the opinion that former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was playing the politics of Macaulay and Chanakya. The minister emphasized that the ruling party would not allow the ex PM to escape to London using the “pretence” of his ill health in prison (sehat ka bahana banaa kar patli galli se London faraar honay ka mauqa nahin dein ge).
Senior PML-N leader Khawaja Asif was quoted by Daily Jang (11 February 2019) as saying that PM Imran Khan had promised to prefer suicide over going to the IMF, but instead, for the first time, a Prime Minister had gone to beg (bheek mangne) from the IMF.
Daily Jang (12 February 2019) reported that as a gas crisis across parts of Karachi worsened, cooking stoves in homes were unable to operate. The report stated that people were left with no option but to cook using firewood.
Daily Express (13 February 2019) informed its readers that the German Ambassador had gained weight due to his love of Pakistani cuisine and had to arrange for new clothes. The report stated that the Ambassador was seen eating biryani and mutton curry with relish.
It was reported by Daily Dunya (14 February 2019) that various ulema expressed their view that Islam does not permit indecent (ikhlaq-soz) festivals like Valentine’s. The report further quoted the Tehreek-e-Labbayk Islam leader Dr. Muhammad Ashraf Asif Jalali as saying that festivals like Valentine’s Day and Basant represented an assault (yalghar) of sin (badi) on Muslim society.
Daily Nawa-i-Waqt (14 February 2019) quoted PM Imran Khan as saying that Pakistan was once again moving towards becoming an economic powerhouse (aik baar phir muaashi taaqat ban’nay ja raha hai). He was further quoted as saying that a new era of fraternal relations with Saudi Arabia was about to begin. Moreover, he stated that Pakistan’s difficult phase was about to come to an end.
Maulana Fazal-ur-Rehman, according to Daily Express (15 February 2019), was of the view that the government had brought the country to verge of ruin. He expressed his view that the people could send the government home whenever they so wished (awam jab chaahein ge hakoomat ko chalta kar dein ge).
Chief Minister of Punjab Usman Buzdar, according to Daily Dunya (15 February 2019), issued instructions for kite-flying to be strictly prohibited in Lahore and other cities. He demanded daily reports on the strict action being taken in this context.
Addressing financial woes
Siraj-ul-Haq of the Jamaat-e-Islami was quoted by Daily Express (16 February 2019) as saying that the rulers had destroyed the self-respect and dignity of the nation by begging from international financial institutions (aalmi maaliyati idaron ke samnay haath phailanay ko wateera banaa kar qaumi izzat o waqar ka janaza nikaal diya hai). He further expressed his view that the West could not live with Islam as a dominant force and that international colonialism (aalmi istemar) wanted Islam to remain confined to the mosque.
It was reported by Daily Dunya (16 February 2019) that the Lahore High Court had dismissed a petition seeking prohibition on the “open sale” of alcohol. The petition had sought a ban on sale of alcohol, naming the federal government, the Punjab government and owners of Lahore’s big hotels.