Appointing ISI chief
is army’s prerogative;
says Khurshid Shah

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SUKKUR: PPP leader Syed Khurshid Ahmed Shah has said that appointing the director-general of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) is the prerogative of the army and political parties should not even comment on it.

Speaking at his first news conference at the local press club after being released from the Sukkur jail recently, he said the issue of appointment of the National Accountability Bureau chairman should also be resolved in accordance with the Constitution and legal procedure.

“Otherwise, another adverse situation may arise,” he warned.

Mr Shah criticised the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government for “disturbing national institutions, thus providing hostile external forces, as well as anti-state elements within the country, a chance to take advantage of the situation”.

He said that the forces that brought Imran Khan and his party to power were now feeling uneasy in the wake of indecision regarding appointments in the national institutions.

Mr Shah also rejected the PTI government’s claim about an improvement having been brought about in the national economy, saying that a comparison of relevant facts and figures of 2012 and 2016 with those of the last three/four years would negate the claim.

Release from Sukkur jail after 2 years

PPP leader Syed Khursheed Ahmed Shah was released from Sukkur jail on Saturday after more than two years of incarceration following his arrest by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in Sept 2019 in a case concerning assets beyond means.

His release comes two days after the Supreme Court (SC) approved his bail, directing him to submit bail bonds of Rs10 million while retaining his name on the Exit Control List.

SUKKUR: PPP leader Syed Khurshid Ahmed Shah talking to newsmen.

Earlier, Shah was taken to the Sukkur accountability court where he signed his bail bonds after which he was taken back to Sukkur Central Jail. His son had deposited the bail bonds on Friday which could not be approved by the SC since it was a half working day.

Upon his release, Shah was given a warm reception by throngs of supporters and party loyalists who had gathered outside the jail. They showered petals on his car, changed slogans in his favour and danced to the beat of drums as Shah waved to the crowd.

He was taken to his residence by the caravan. The PPP leader also addressed the crowd at a point and said he was thankful to God, his supporters and the PPP.

“Today I don’t make any complaint why I was put in jail for two years […] it was my test and thank God so much that they put me in jail [but] till today they couldn’t prove anything [against me].”

Shah said he was “proud to say” that he hailed from the middle class. He added that he did not have to defend himself since “this nation and this love [of you for me] is my defence.”

SUKKUR: PPP leader Syed Khurshid Ahmed Shah is coming from Sukkur jail after over two years on Saturday.

The PPP leader came down hard against the government and berated it for the country’s economic woes such as inflation, hikes in petrol prices and the exchange rate.

He also blasted the government for not carrying out local government elections. He said democracy was the only way for the country’s progress. “We want democracy, parliament, strong institutions and we should refrain from politics of lies. Lying is the biggest cancer.”

Shah also expressed his faith in “God’s justice” and the country’s courts. “I will get justice because I know I was, am and will remain innocent,” he added.

NAB reference

In 2012, an accountability court had directed NAB to file a reference against Shah on a complaint pertaining to the alleged accumulation of illegitimate assets.

In 2013, NAB had reopened two corruption cases against Shah under the directives of the Lahore High Court.

In July 2019, NAB Chairman retired justice Javed Iqbal had approved nine inquiries against different personalities, including Shah.

Subsequently, Shah was arrested on Sept 18, 2019, and NAB filed another reference against him the next day.

Shah and 17 co-accused, including his two wives, two sons, two nephews, contractors and alleged frontmen, had pleaded not guilty to charges of accumulating assets beyond known sources of income when an accountability court judge formally indicted them in Dec 2020.

Shah, who is also the former leader of the opposition in the National Assembly, was in police custody for almost two-and-a-half years. He remained under treatment at the National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases, Sukkur, for about two years during the period.