PM Shehbaz's Sharp Rebuke to President Alvi

In response to Alvi’s letter, Shehbaz says he himself and his govt fully committed to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution and citizens’ rights n Under the Constitution, president has no power to seek explanation from govt or PM n Govt will ensure writ of law in any case n ECP has announced Oct 8 as election date in Punjab taking into account ground realities n Regrets the president has failed to note sheer violation of law, contumacious disregard of courts orders, attacking law enforcers, damaging public properties.

ISLAMABAD    -     Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has termed the contents of the letter written by President Dr. Arif Alvi as of partisan in nature, one-sided and based upon anti-government views’ which were openly espoused by the latter notwithstanding the constitu­tional oath/office of the president.

The PM after after consulting his party and ruling coalition leaders re­sponded to the president’s letter yes­terday expressing extreme disap­pointment and rejected his assertions. The president on March 24 had writ­ten a letter to the prime minister urg­ing him to ensure the implementation of the Supreme Court’s orders in rela­tion to the general elections in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces. 

The move came after the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) had postponed the upcoming elections in Punjab — initially scheduled to be held on April 30 — citing securi­ty reasons as the major cause behind the change in plans.

The prime minister, in response to the president’s letter, said that he was constrained to express his dis­appointment at the blatant partisan nature of the letter, “which in parts reads like a Press Release of the Op­position political party i.e. the Paki­stan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).

“Mr. President, the Constitution does not vest any powers in or as­ signs any functions to the Presi­dent whereby the President can seek explanation from the Gov­ernment or the Prime Minister. The only reason I am responding to your letter is because I want to bring your partisan attitude and actions on record and to set the re­cord of our Government straight,” the contents of the letter shared by the PM Office Media Wing quoted the prime minister as saying. The prime minister stressed that he was fully aware of his duties and the duties of the federal govern­ment under the Constitution and the government was fully com­mitted to preserve, protect and defend the constitution and en­sure that the fundamental rights guaranteed to the citizens of Pa­kistan were not violated.

“However, our government is also determined to ensure that no one is allowed to violate the law, create unrest and attempts to cause irreparable harm to the state of Pakistan. I want to fur­ther assure you that our govern­ment will thwart any efforts to undermine the constitutionally elected government,” he added.

Further responding to the ref­erence made in the president’s letter of Article 46 of the Con­stitution and Rule 15 (5) of the Rules of Business, 1973 regard­ing holding of meaningful con­sultations between the pres­ident and prime minister, he said, the objection was out of place. Under clause (1) of the Article 48, the president, in ex­ercise of his functions, must act on and in accordance with the advice of the cabinet or the prime minister, he added.

The prime minister noted, “In very limited instances, the Pres­ident acts in his discretion un­der the Constitution. Article 46 and Rule 15 (5) (b) supra are what they ordain. That is keep the President informed. Nothing more and nothing less. These provisions or for that matter nothing else in the Constitution requires the Prime Minister to consult the President on the ex­ercise of executive authority by the Federal Government.”

Regarding the president’s ref­erence to holding of elections, the prime minister maintained that the ECP had announced Oc­tober 8 as the new date for polls in Punjab after taking into ac­count the ground realities.

All the federal and provin­cial government authorities fur­nished the relevant information to the ECP, he said, adding being the constitutional body, charged with the duty to organize and conduct elections, it was ulti­mately, the ECP’s decision to as­sess circumstances for orga­nizing and conducting free and fair elections as required under clause (3) of Article 218. The prime minister pointed out that the president did not object to the use of language and rather aggressive attitude of the former federal ministers who actively attempted to undermine the au­thority and credibility of ECP.

He further opined that at the be­hest of the PTI, the president gave dates for the general elections on the provincial assemblies of Pun­jab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and his decision of election date for KPK assembly was set aside by the Supreme Court. He said that the president did not raise any concerns on malafide disso­lution of the provincial assem­blies of the two provinces, that too at the behest of and to satisfy the ego of PTI’s chairman.

“The two provincial assem­blies have been dissolved not for any constitutional or legal objective but to blackmail the governments in center and the other two provinces with sole objective of forcing them to dis­solve the National and the oth­er two provincial assemblies,” he added.The prime minis­ter cited that the constitution­al distortion also completely es­caped the president’s attention regarding effects of conducting elections to two provincial as­semblies prior to the general elections of the National Assem­bly inasmuch, as organizing and conducting free and fair elec­tions under clause (3) of Article 218 might not be possible with the elected provincial govern­ment in these provinces.

The prime minister expressed that it was quite saddening giv­en the role of the head of the state that the Constitution as­signed to the president.

In the letter shared by PM Of­fice Media Wing, the prime min­ister further addressing the president, said that it was a matter of record that previous­ly, he (the president) had acted in a similar patrician manner on several occasions in violation of his oath. These occasions in­cluded i.e. letter for dissolution of the National Assembly on April 3, 2022 on the illegal in­structions of the former prime minister (Imran Khan) which was declared as unconstitu­tional by the Supreme Court on April 7 last year and upon his elections as the prime minister, the president failed to discharge his constitutional duty in terms of clause (5) of Article 91.

“Despite the foregoing and several other instances, where you actively worked towards undermining a constitutional­ly elected government. I have made all-out efforts to main­tain good working relationship with you. However, the contents of your letter, its tone and lan­guage have compelled me to re­spond to it,” the prime minister further added.

The prime minister respond­ing to the points raised by the president regarding alleged fundamental and human rights violations as highlighted by me­dia, said that the reference was quite clear as it referred to the politicians and workers belong­ing to a political party to which the president also belonged to.

The prime minister categori­cally said that substantive and procedural due process guaran­teed under the Constitution un­der Articles 4 and 10A was be­ing afforded to all.

“All the actions taken by the law enforcement agencies are strictly in accordance with law to maintain law and order and establish the writ of the state,” he said, adding that in all in­stances, aggrieved persons had approached the appropriate le­gal fora. The prime minister further observed that regretta­bly due to party allegiance, the president failed to note sheer violation of laws, contumacious disregard of courts orders, at­tacking the law enforcement agencies, damaging public prop­erty, attempts to create chaos, civil and political unrest and ‘in short to bring the country to the brink of economic default and civil war’ by the PTI.

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