LAHORE - Dr Tahirul Qadri talked of bringing about a revolution – and the police, allegedly after a signal from the government, took the lives of more than a dozen people while removing barriers outside the residence of the PAT chief.
Imran Khan recently announced that he would go for a long march on Islamabad on August 14 in case the government did not meet his demands. The response has come from the former Chief Justice of Pakistan’s son – Arsalan Iftikhar - that he would file a reference seeking disqualification of PTI chairman as a member of the National Assembly for he is not sagacious and ‘ameen’, the mandatory qualifications mentioned in the Constitution for a parliamentarian.
The PML-Q is supporting Dr Qadri’s revolution idea and there are reports that the government is investigating the sources of the party funding.
Don’t all these three moves seem interlinked? They are. The purpose is to terrify all opponents of the government and warn them of the consequences they may have to face in case they go ahead with their declared plans. Though the front against Imran Khan has, apparently, been opened by Arsalan Iftikhar, behind him is the PML-N govt. Imran is their common enemy.
As the PAT workers’ killings are being probed by a judicial tribunal, there is not much room to say more about the tragedy. But Arsalan Iftikhar’s move against Imran Khan – and his father’s plan to deal separately with the former cricket hero – at this stage have exposed both the father and the son. If somebody had an iota of doubt about their relations with the PML-N leadership and commonality of their interest, they should clear their minds now. They were one and the same thing in the past and they are one and the same thing now.
The powerful campaign launched by the PML-N for the restoration of Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry as Chief Justice of Pakistan was also for bilateral interest, not the supremacy of the Constitution or judiciary.
Arsalan says that in nomination papers filed at the time of the 2013 elections Imran Khan had mentioned his two sons but not the ‘love child’ he was accused of having fathered several years ago. He cites the judgment of a Florida court in support of his claim. The son of the former CJP argues that by concealing this fact Imran had ceased to be sagacious and ameen.
It may be recalled that this issue had first been raised by the PML-N before the 1997 elections. Imran Khan had launched his party only a few months ago and was leading his party into elections for the first time. He had no wildest imagination to what extent political opponents could go to defeat him. The PPP government had been dismissed on a number of serious charges and stood no chance of returning to power immediately. The cricketer-turned-politician was very popular among the youth and was in a position to give the PML-N a tough time. However, the ‘love child’ propaganda shattered all his dreams and routed the nascent party.
This means what the PML-N had exploited before the elections then, Arsalan Iftikhar has done after the polls now.
However, it’s a matter of record that an election tribunal of Lahore High Court comprising Justice Nasir Saeed Sheikh and Justice Shahid Waheed had dismissed in 2013 five appeals against acceptance of PTI Chairman Imran Khan’s nomination papers on various grounds. The ‘love child’ issue had been raised by Imran’s opponents.
Likewise, the Election Commission of Pakistan had dismissed in 2007 two references against Imran Khan on the basis of this ‘love child’ allegation. The references had been moved by Dr Sher Afgan Khan Niazi (now late) and (MQM leader) Dr Farooq Sattar, and forwarded to the ECP by the then National Assembly speaker.
Then Chief Election Commissioner Qazi Muhammad Farooq, Justice Nasim Sikandar and Ahmed Khan Lashari dismissed the references, saying they were not maintainable.
The judgment said that a sitting member of parliament can be unseated only on the grounds listed under Article 63.
As for the credentials of Arsalan Iftikhar, he is the spoilt son of the ex-CJP who brought a bad name to himself as well as his father because of his alleged wrongdoings. He was accused of having taken more than Rs 300 million from a property tycoon on the promise that he would get him favourable judgments in cases pending with his father. He used the official residence of his father as his business office. Although the father had expelled him from his house after corruption charges came to the fore, the annoyance was short-lived. With the money provided by the tycoon, Arsalan made several visits abroad, stayed in the most expensive hotels, visited casinos and purchased many gifts for the family. The allegations have yet not been investigated because of the influence his father has in all state institutions. There is no chance of any progress on this front as long as the PML-N is in power. However, it is hoped that now the PTI would go the whole hog to expose the ‘piety and righteousness’ of the father and the son.
These are the signs of growing political tensions in the times ahead.