PML-N Punjab President Rana Sanaullah said the term “basket” was used in the context of “lifafa” or corruption. He made the statement while responding to a question regarding the recent audio leak from PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz and Pervaiz Rasheed.
The audio caused a real storm in Pakistan. This proved once again that Maryam Nawaz attempted to control the media during PML-N’s tenure.
To clarify, in the audio clip, Maryam Nawaz and Pervaiz Rasheed criticized reporters who criticized PML-N. Rasheed even called them “barking dogs”.
Towards the end of the clip, Maryam Nawaz also gave instructions to send a pair of baskets brought by former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif of Azerbaijan to journalists Nusrat Javeed and Rana Jawad.
Read more: Maryam Nawaz kicks off 2022 with new audio leak
This caused a real storm in Pakistan as allegations were made that the PML-N bribed journalists. In this regard, Rana Sanaullah denied that PML-N never sent baskets to anyone, nor received any. He also said that the word “basket” has been used in the context of corruption.
However, he defended PML-N by clarifying that the people targeted in the audio clip continue to host shows to this day. PML-N took no action against them despite their criticism. Javed Latif added that PML-N had not publicly expressed its disappointment with reporters.
“Now we can’t even talk privately about the matter anymore?” Rana Sanaullah asked.
Questionable timings of the audio clip
Additionally, Rana Sanaullah raised questions about the timing of the audio clip’s leak. He said that since journalists have the right to express their opinions, in the same way, PML-N also has the right to their opinions. The conversation in the clip was private and between two people, so the criticism about it is not justified, Rana Sanaullah said.
“Who has the power to disclose such audio cassettes? And why was yesterday [4th January] chosen for his escape? asks Rana Sanaullah.
According to Rana Sanaullah, the government has made a mountain out of a molehill by continuously discussing the audio so the public does not focus on the recent Pakistan Election Commission (ECP) report.
Earlier, the ECP issued a report claiming that the ruling PTI party received funds from foreign nationals and companies, underreported funds, concealed numerous bank accounts and refused to disclose details of important transactions.
Read more: Foreign financing affair: has PTI emerged from troubled waters?