“The voices for change stemming from the judiciary itself is certainly a ray of hope for the country,” says PM
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Tuesday sought parliamentary action after the Supreme Court judges raised questions over the powers and authorities of the chief justice of Pakistan, terming the move "a ray of hope".
A day earlier, in a 27-page detailed note — considered to be a 'judgement' — for the apex court's March 1 verdict in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa suo motu, Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah and Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail pointed out that it is important “to revisit the power of ‘one-man show’ enjoyed by the office of the CJP [Umar Ata Bandial]"
PM Shehbaz, during his speech at the National Assembly today, said: “The voices for change stemming from the judiciary itself is certainly a ray of hope for the country.”
He added that if the house did not play its part in making the “needed” changes, the nation will not forgive them.
Since the Parliament is empowered to make laws in the country, we must do what it can to make laws that will facilitate the “decision”, he said, adding that today, “we must decide whether we want to help the millions of people in this country or we want to facilitate one favourite.”
In the fiery address Shehbaz said he was of the clear opinion that talks between the government and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan will only be possible if the former premier admits his "wrongdoings" and apologises to people for all the things he has said and done.
Labelling Khan as a “fraud,” the premier said that it was “not possible to talk" with someone who had “looted the country, attacked the judiciary and did not believe in the Constitution and justice", until he publicly apologised to people and admitted to having caused damage to the country and the Constitution.
“I believe no discussions can be held with a person who consistently and condescendingly rejects invitations for talks on everything — be it COVID-19, the state of terrorism in the country, the apex committee meeting or the Kashmir conference," PM Shehbaz added.
"In a democracy, we have no weapons, merely dialogue," the PM said, emphasising that it was not possible to give in to Khan; "however, we are short on time."
The prime minister further said that Pakistan's Constitution has divided power between institutions and set a red line that no one should be able to cross, but that a serious mockery has been made of the Constitution today.
"Last year, we were in the opposition and parties with different ideologies decided that we should save the state. The coalition parties put politics at stake to save the state," he said at the start of his speech.
He said 50 years have passed since the 1973 Constitution was made.
"The tragedy of 1971 was a lesson for the entire nation. The Constitution clarified the powers of the legislature, judiciary and administration. When we sat at the Opposition benches, the coalition parties put politics at stake to save the state, but today, a mockery has been made of the Constitution," he said.
Slamming Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan, the premier said that a certain "favourite" does not appear before any court, no matter how many notices he gets. "He gets extension in different courts in the dark of the night and makes a mockery of the judiciary," PM Shehbaz lamented, criticising Khan for his remarks against a sitting woman judge and the fact that no one took notice of it.
"Imran Khan made false cases against the opposition when he was in government and signed an agreement with the IMF [International Monetary Fund] and violated it. Debt increased by 70% during his four-year tenure," the premier went on, listing down the PTI chief's faults.
The PM regretted that the PTI chief is "blackmailing the judiciary through violent tactics".
He said the PTI chairman does not recognise the law and constitution and is not surrendering before the courts. He said today democracy is faced with fascism.
Talking about the government of Imran Khan, the PM said that it pushed the country towards bankruptcy. "Imran Khan said that his government was terminated by America and then took a U-turn and said that the US did not conspire against him.
He reiterated that the current government "saved the country" from bankruptcy. "Today, the IMF is taking guarantees from us at every step. We have fulfilled all the conditions of the IMF. Congratulations to the finance minister who finalised the terms of the deal with the IMF," he shared.
PM Shehbaz said instead of facing the cases against himself, Imran Khan is attacking law enforcement agencies.
Society based on justice is imperative to steer the country out of current dire straits, he said, urging the House to fulfill its constitutional responsibility to protect the country from constitutional and political crisis.
He said the pillars of the state will have to play their role for this purpose.
"Our Constitution clearly protects the separation of powers, while at present, some judicial verdicts are openly violating the Constitution by supporting PTI in all cases," he said, adding that certain legislation should be made to strengthen rule of law in the country.
No political party can run away from the elections, which are the beauty of a democracy, he said.
He, however, said the recent decision of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) regarding the elections has been taken keeping in view the resurgence of terrorism in the country.
PM Shehbaz said that a smear campaign against the armed forces of Pakistan will not be allowed.