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Basket means lifafa: Rana Sanaullah

In a leaked audio, PML-N vice president Maryam Nawaz passed instructions to send a pair of baskets brought by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif from Azerbaijan to journalists. Rana Sanaullah denied that PML-N ever sent any baskets to anyone, nor did it receive any.

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Punjab President of PML-N Rana Sanaullah stated that the term “basket” was used in the context of “lifafa” or bribery. He made the statement while answering a question regarding PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz and Pervaiz Rasheed’s recent audio leak.

The audio caused quite a storm in Pakistan. It once again proved that Maryam Nawaz attempted to control the media during PML-N’s tenure.

To clarify, in the audio clip, Maryam Nawaz and Pervaiz Rasheed bashed journalists who criticized PML-N. Rasheed even called them “barking dogs.”

Towards the end of the clip, Maryam Nawaz also passed instructions to send a pair of baskets brought by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif from Azerbaijan to journalists Nusrat Javeed and Rana Jawad.

Read more: Maryam Nawaz kicks off 2022 with new leaked audio

This caused quite a storm in Pakistan as claims were made that PML-N bribes journalists. Regarding this, Rana Sanaullah denied that PML-N ever sent any baskets to anyone, nor did it receive any. He also said that the word “basket” has been used in the context of bribery.

However, he defended PML-N by clarifying that the people targetted in the audio clip continue to host shows to this day. PML-N did not take any action against them despite their criticisms. Javed Latif further said that PML-N did not express its disappointment with the journalists publicly.

“Now we can’t even talk privately on the matter?,” Rana Sanaullah asked.

Questionable timings of the audio clip

Moreover, Rana Sanaullah raised questions on the timings of the audio clip’s leak. He said since journalists have the right to voice 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, therefore criticism over it is not justified, Rana Sanaullah said.

“Who holds the capacity to leak such audio tapes? And why was yesterday [4th January] chosen for its leak?” Rana Sanaullah questioned.

According to Rana Sanaullah, the government made a mountain of a molehill by continuously discussing the audio so that the public would not focus on the recent report by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

Earlier, the ECP released a report claiming that the ruling party PTI received funding from foreign nationals and companies, under-reported funds, concealed numerous bank accounts, and refused to divulge details of large transactions.

Read more: Foreign Funding Case: Is PTI out of troubled waters?