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- Monday, September 17, 2012 - From Print Edition


ISLAMABAD: In an unprecedented move, MNA Nasir Ali Shah (PPP) on Sunday declined an invitation from Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf for a meeting slated for Monday afternoon, The News learnt here.


A source at the Prime Minister’s House claimed the lawmaker was approached via telephone on Friday and told about the Prime Minister’s willingness to see him on Monday at 1:30pm.


The legislator from Quetta politely refused citing two main reasons: first, he was not sure whether the PM had the mandate to make significant progress towards the resolution of the deep-rooted problems of Balochistan; and second, he asked why he should meet the chief executive for whom he had neither cast his vote nor whom he had greeted afterwards for being elected prime minister.


“I think I did the right thing, as I don’t believe Premier Ashraf is powerful enough to check the deteriorating security situation in Balochistan and elsewhere, or do anything about the spiraling prices of basic goods or halting drone hits inside Pakistan. I doubt he will be able to have the killers of Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto arrested,” Nasir Shah said while confirming to The News his refusal to accept the invitation.


The caller who identified himself as the PM’s protocol officer contacted him via phone. Asked about the reason for the PM’s invitation, Nasir said it was possible the prime minister, who was present during a recent sitting of the National Assembly, may have decided to personally listen to him (Nasir Shah) after he was denied the opportunity to speak despite his repeated attempts on the floor of the National Assembly.


“I was not given the floor despite commitment from the chair several times. Where should I go to speak for my people or highlight their problems?” he asked. The legislator contended he was sure the prime minister was powerless and could not address Pakistan’s pressing problems and implement the manifesto of the PPP. Nasir Shah said he would go back to his people prior to taking any decision on whether or not to take part in the next general election.


Nsair Shah said the party leading the ruling coalition was a reconciliatory party, and did not have anything to do with the PPP of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and his martyred daughter. “I am ignored by my party and even by the chair though I speak strictly in line with the Constitution and my party’s manifesto,” he complained.