Shehbaz says Supreme Court can give verdicts but has no right to arbitrate n Coalition parties repose full confidence in Shehbaz’s leadership n Express strong resentment over top court's observations against PMn Removing an elected PM from office through bogus process of contempt of court is an unpardonable crime: ruling alliance.
ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif Wednesday said that the Parliament would take a decision regarding the elections as the forum had already taken legal and constitutional steps to address the pervading challenges.
The prime minister while addressing a meeting of the coalition parties said that in the recent past, the meetings were held to discuss the challenges and the remedial measures, and a joint session of the Parliament also took legal and constitutional steps in that regard. It was the government’s political and moral obligation to accept the Parliament’s decision, he added. As far as the talks for evolving a consensus on a single election date were concerned, he said there was an “overwhelming opinion among the coalition parties that the doors to dialogue should remain open. And there was also an opinion that a parliamentary committee might play a role in that regard as the government desired to evolve a consensus on the election date and did not want to impede the process just to satisfy its ego, he added.
PM Shehbaz said despite the Parliament’s decision not to accept the three-member bench, the Supreme Court wanted to move forward with the same bench. However, the coalition parties were unanimous that they would accept the 4-3 verdict of the apex court bench and not 2-3.
The Supreme Court, he said, should not be given the right to arbitrate as it was there to only give verdicts as per law and the Constitution. He said the coalition parties were unanimous that the elections would be held in October or November after the incumbent government completed its term on August 13. The prime minister said instead of suggesting the solutions, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leadership tried to exploit the country’s challenging situation and also asked its provincial finance ministers to turn down the International Monetary Fund’s conditions to impede the agreement.
Moreover the party also tried to create a chaos and division within the society, he added. “Even the armed forces and their leadership were not spared as some PTI agents from abroad were playing a negative role in that regard,” he added.
‘SUPREME COURT’S CONTROVERSIAL BENCHES’
On the other hand, leaders of coalition parties in the government unanimously decided that elections will be held simultaneously across the country after completion of constitutional term of the incumbent government.
The decision was taken at a high-level consultative meeting of heads of all parties in the coalition government held in Islamabad on Wednesday with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif in the chair. Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) chief Maulana Fazl-ur-Rehman, Chairman Pakistan People’s Party Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and leaders of other parties attended the meeting. The meeting discussed the overall situation of the country and especially the issues emanating from verdicts of Supreme Court’s controversial benches regarding the holding of elections in the country.
The meeting reposed full confidence in the leadership of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif. Maintaining that the authority to take all national decisions rests with the Prime Minister, the meeting reiterated the resolve to support all decisions by the Prime Minister.
The meeting clarified that the ruling parties have already started the process of political consultation within themselves regarding transparent, free and impartial elections in the country on a single day therefore Supreme Court’s mediatory role in this purely political matter is inappropriate.
The meeting noted that the process of dialogue, consultation and consensus lies within the exclusive domain of political parties and they have been doing it successfully for years. It unanimously decided to keep the matter within the same ambit and brooded over the future strategy for taking the ongoing consultation process to the next stage. Discussing the Supreme Court’s verdict of 19th of this month, the meeting deplored that the apex court’s order that federal government should release money without the approval of the Parliament ignores the basic scheme of Constitution. The meeting also expressed strong resentment over the Court’s observation that the Prime Minister has lost the confidence of the House and termed these observations as condemnable and tantamount to insult of the Parliament and office of the Prime Minister.
The meeting observed that the Supreme Court should respect the Parliament and opinion of the House which stands with the Prime Minister and has full confidence in him.
The meeting also discussed the audios of former Chief Justice of Supreme Court Saqib Nisar, lawyer Khawaja Tariq Rahim and his wife and strongly condemned the conversation. The meeting stated that these audios have strengthened the impression that the decisions are not being made according to the constitution but reek of personal grudges, likes and dislikes.
The meeting also strongly condemned the conversation in the audios regarding imposition of martial law in the country terming it an undemocratic mindset. The meeting noted that former Chief Justice Saqib Nisar and Khawaja Tariq Rahim have already acknowledged the conversation revealed in the audio which leaves no doubt that the former Chief Justice is guilty of conspiring against an elected Prime Minister and a democratically elected coalition government.
It said removing an elected Prime Minister from office through a bogus, unconstitutional and illegal process of contempt of court is a grave and unpardonable crime. The meeting declared that after these audios, the real factors behind the controversial verdicts of three and eight member benches Supreme Court have become clear. Therefore the resolutions of the Parliament in this regard should be implemented.
‘PROVISION OF RS21B TO ECP’
The Federal Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif on Wednesday approved referring of the Finance Ministry’s summary to the Parliament for provision of Rs 21 billion to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP)for holding of general elections in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces.
The cabinet also approved financing facility for electric bikes and rickshaws for increasing their common use. A loan of Rs 500,000 would be available under the Prime Minister’s Youth Business and Agriculture Loan Scheme at zero mark-up, which would help in saving significantly the country’s spending made on the import of costly fuel. The meeting expressed its deep grief and sorrow over loss of precious lives in a blast in the Counter Terrorism Department Police Station, Kabal, Swat, and offered Fateha for the martyrs and prayed for the early recovery of the injured, the PM Office Media Wing said in a press release.
The prime minister directed the Ministry of Interior for inclusion of a Federal Government representative in the investigation process of the CTD Swat blast. He also directed for grant of similar Shuhada package to the deceased in the blast as had been given to those of the Peshawar Police Lines.
The cabinet gave a nod to the legislation over Invest Pakistan initiative on the recommendation of the Board of Investment. Under the legislation, an ‘Investment Pakistan’ office would be established under the BOI that would function under public-private partnership. The proposed legislation would help ensure provision of investment-friendly services, it was added. The meeting also sanctioned appointment of Syedain Raza Zaidi, a Grade 21 officer of Inland Revenue, on deputation as Karachi Port Trust chairman on the recommendation of the Ministry of Maritime Affairs. The cabinet approved guidelines for carrying out amendments under its earlier decision of 08-11-2017. Under the decision, it was made mandatory for all the ministries and divisions to carry out amendments in their relevant acts and rules by replacing the words ‘Federal Government’ with ‘appropriate authorities’ for usage. The meeting ratified the decisions of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) on April 13. These decisions included declaration of Angor Adda Custom Station in South Waziristan as ‘Export Land Route’ for Afghanistan and the Central Asian States.