ISLAMABAD: Many developments occurred with reference to Pakistan’s manoeuvring and hostile politics on Thursday. Representing the government, the Interior Minister asked Imran Khan to dissolve assemblies in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab — where his party is in power — saying that it was a prerequisite of his demand for general elections.
Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah
Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah on Thursday urged former prime minister Imran Khan to dissolve assemblies in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab — where his party is in power — saying that it was a prerequisite of his demand for general elections.
The minister made the statement at a press conference in Islamabad as he insisted that the PTI chief would “never prefer early polls” and that “he is making such demands only to discredit the government.”
Sanaullah said PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif wanted the country to move towards elections, however, “this man [Imran] is asking for the sacking of chief election commissioner without realising that fact that the CEC cannot be replaced without fulfillment of a required constitutional process.”
“The nomination for the current CEC was proposed by Imran when he was in the government, and now he could only be removed through the consent of judicial council,” he added.
He said the ECP chief could not be sacked on mere threats hurled by Imran.
He asked Imran to dissolve the two assemblies if he was “sincere” in his demand for early polls.
The interior minister demanded the ECP to “immediately announce” the verdict in the foreign funding case, which has been reserved for eight weeks.
Sanaullah claimed the PML-N would “sweep” Punjab if elections were held, saying “we will form our government”.
The minister also blamed the PTI government for the current inflation the country was facing. “They signed an agreement with the IMF and we just implemented it.”
Imran Khan’s stand
Expressing his gratitude to the nation for what he called “foiling an international conspiracy” by supporting his candidate, Parvez Elahi, in the recent Punjab chief minister’s election, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan on Wednesday ruled out any possibility of sitting down for talks with the ruling coalition.
“I can talk to the [Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan], the separatists of Balochistan and Sindh, but not with thieves. Will you speak to someone who robs your home?” he said in his address on Wednesday night, which was being celebrated as a ‘thanks-giving day’ on the call of his party.
“Throughout my life, I have witnessed such enthusiasm only once before, and that was during the 1965 war; at that time, everybody thought that the nation was fighting. And now, I saw the same enthusiasm among the masses during the by-polls in the 20 constituencies of Punjab,” he said.
Insisting that he wanted good relations, even with US — which he accuses of trying to engineer his ouster from power through a conspiracy — but urged the nation to prefer “death to slavery”.
“I do not want bad relations with the US, where we export more than any other country and where a large number of the Pakistani community resides. But death is better than slavery and we have to live with self-respect,” he added.
Saying that general elections were the sole solution to the prevailing crises facing the country, brought on by the ineptitude of the government that was imposed on the nation through foreign conspiracy, Mr Khan vowed that once he comes into power again, he would put the country on its own feet and would only ask overseas Pakistanis and not the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for financial assistance.
In his remarks, which sounded like an early election speech, Mr Khan once again expressed a complete lack of trust in the incumbent Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja. He continued to allege that Mr Raja was involved in rigging in the recent by-elections for 20 seats of the provincial assembly, where his party won the bulk of seats.
PDM rejects Supreme Court’s decision
The Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) on Thursday rejected the Supreme Court’s verdict to nullify 10 votes of the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) in the Deputy Speaker’s ruling case.
PDM meeting was held at Muslim League House in Chak Shahzad.
PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz, PML-N Spokesperson and Federal Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb, former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, Aftab Sherpao and others were present the meeting.
During the meeting Maulana Fazlur Rehman invited Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Awami National Party (ANP) to join the PDM.
According to sources, the resolution passed by the National Assembly regarding judicial reforms was welcomed.
During the meeting, PML-N supremo and former premier Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif said that we have been burdened with the ‘apple of the eye’ (Imran Khan) for four years. “We accepted to join the government only to save the country”, said the former prime minister.
PML-N vice president Maryam Nawaz said, “Our legitimate demand for full court to meet the demand of justice was not accepted, now we have to go for review or remain silent, we have to decide.”
Sources privy to the matter said, PDM chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman said, “Now we have to set a clear direction and we also have to know about all the characters involved in the game.”
Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said, “The policy of reconciliation has hurt us from the beginning.”
Govt must send presidential reference to SC
The Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) — a multi-party alliance with representation of ruling PML-N — on Thursday recommended to the government to send a presidential reference to the Supreme Court seeking its interpretation of Article 63-A of the Constitution by a full-court bench for “a way out of the prevailing constitutional and political crisis.”
Announcing key decisions taken by the PDM following a meeting today, alliance chief Maulana Fazl-ur-Rehman said the meeting decided that the recent interpretation of the Article 63-A by a three-member bench of the apex court while ruling on Punjab chief minister’s election had fuelled reservations and triggered a constitutional crisis.
“The political parties have expressed reservations on the observation of three judges of the top court [on Punjab chief minister election] which complicated the matter,” he said.
He said that sending a reference to the apex court was now essential in view of widespread differences of opinion among different circles as well as legal experts, media and the civil society.
Fazl also said it was unanimously agreed that the government would complete its term and the elections would be “held on time”.
“Under the resolution, it is also our demand that the ECP must immediately announce its verdict in the foreign funding case, which has been lingering for eight years,” he told journalists.
Maryam Nawaz Sharif
Speaking on the occasion, PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz said the plea for a full-court bench was rejected by the Supreme Court to “facilitate Laadla” (the blue-eyed) and deliver an unjust verdict to dent the government.
“The three-member bench of the SC has already become controversial,” she said. “Our 25 MPAs were given to Imran and Chaudhry Shujaat’s 10 MPAs were also provided to Imran. This was the mistake and misinterpretation,” Maryam claimed.
She accused the SC bench of violating the Constitution, adding that “if you think we will accept this decision, we won’t”.
Maryam said the coalition will not allow Imran to constantly “operate as a bully and abuse of his opponents”. “We will not let that happen.”
PML-Q recommends removal of Shujaat
Central Working Committee (CWC) of Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) on Thursday claimed to have removed Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain from the post of party president while the meeting also removed Tariq Bashir Cheema from the post of Secretary General.
However, Chaudhry Salik Hussain, the son of Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain termed the move as illegal and in violation of the party’s Constitution under which the party’s General Council could take any such step.
“I wonder at the audacity of the illegal move. How the party’s provincial chapter could remove the central president and secretary-general. It’s a move in violation of the party Constitution and have no legal grounds,” Ch Salik Hussain told Pakistan Today.
The move comes in wake of deepening rifts between Chaudhrys of Gujrat who have been termed as icons of brotherhood and carrying family unity and traditions. However, recent events have seen Shujaat and Pervez Elahi falling apart, with Shujaat supporting the PML-N and Elahi joining Imran Khan’s PTI.
Meanwhile, sources in the PML-Q told Pakistan Today that a meeting of the PML-Q central working committee was held here chaired by Senator Kamil Ali Agha.
The meeting decided to hold new party elections in ten days. For inter-party elections, a five-member Election Commission was established while Jahangir A Joja will be the Election Commissioner.
Addressing a press conference after the meeting, Senator Kamil Ali Agha said that it was an emergency meeting on short notice. A requisition was received to convene the meeting, he added.
Kamil said the meeting was convened today after the consultation of the legal wing, there was a requisition of more people than the quorum. He further said that 83 people participated in the meeting today, four to five resolutions were passed after a long consultation, adding that the actions of three gentlemen proved to be very harmful for the party.
There was a long-standing relationship with Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, Cheema said. He also said that in the meeting it was decided to remove Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain from the post of party president.
The decisions of the executive body give power to all officials, Kamil said. He said that PML-Q also decided to remove Tariq Bashir Cheema from the post.
Immediate elections will be held in the party and in regard to this, a five-member Election Commission has been appointed, said Kamil Ali Agha.
As Parvaiz Ealhi became the Chief Minister, the post of Speaker has become vacant, so in the Punjab Assembly, the party will extend its full support to PTI s Sibatin Khan as Speaker. All the members will vote for Sibatin Khan, he said.
Kamil Ali Agha said, “This is an unpleasant situation for us”. Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain s health is affecting his decision-making power. Kamil lashed out at Tariq Bashir Cheema, claiming that Cheema is doing conspiracy and using party for his own interest.
NA speaker accepts resignations of 11 PTI MNAs
National Assembly Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf on Thursday accepted the resignations of 11 MNAs belonging to the PTI.
The PTI lawmakers had resigned en masse on April 11, two days after former prime minister Imran Khan was ousted from the top office after the no-confidence motion moved by the joint opposition in the parliament against him succeeded.
Currently the total number of MNAs who had resigned stands at 131.
The confirmation of the acceptance of the resignations was issued by the NA Secretariat, which issued a list.
It is not clear as to why the resignations of only 11 MNAs have been accepted by the speaker.
Ali Muhammad Khan, Fazal Muhammad Khan, Shaukat Ali, Fakhar Zaman Khan, Farrukh Habib and Ijaz Ahmed Shah are among the lawmakers whose resignations have been accepted.
Jamil Ahmed Khan, Muhammad Akram Cheema and Abdul Shakoor Shad’s names are also on the list. Dr Shireen Mehrunnisa Mazari and Shandana Gulzar Khan, who were both MNAs on reserved seats for women, will also cease to be members of the lower house of the parliament.
LHC moved against PM
In a major move against the ruling coalition in the centre, the PTI has filed a petition in the Lahore High Court seeking the disqualification of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah Khan.
PTI’s former lawmaker Andleeb Abbas and Advocate Hassaan Khan Niazi jointly filed the petition saying the prime minister misused his powers and violated the Constitution by allowing his son Suleman and nephew Hussain Nawaz, both are proclaimed offenders, to meet Saudi crown prince during an official visit.
The petitioners further stated that the prime minister took his cabinet members to London to meet former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and former finance minister Ishaq Dar, both proclaimed offenders before the courts of the country.
They asked the court to disqualify the respondents and also direct the police to initiate criminal proceedings against the PM and his cabinet members.