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Khursheed warns PMLN against confrontation

These characters who unleashed economic misery on people of Pakistan will have to face accountability, he says

By News Desk
September 24, 2023
PPP leader Syed Khursheed Ahmed Shah while speaking in the National Assembly. — APP/File

ISLAMABAD: PPP leader Syed Khursheed Ahmed Shah has advised the PMLN against seeking action against former army chief Gen (retd) Qamar Javed Bajwa and ex-spymaster retired Lt-Gen Faiz Hamid and not to engage in such confrontations.

The remarks from the senior PPP leader come in the backdrop of PMLN supremo Nawaz Sharif’s recent hard-hitting statement, in which he held the two officials responsible for his removal from power in 2017 and the country’s ongoing crises.

“(Former) chief justices Saqib Nisar and Asif Saeed Khosa were tools [of the former army chief and his spy chief].

Their crime is bigger than a murder offence. Giving them pardon will be an injustice to the nation. They don’t deserve pardon,” Nawaz said, vowing to hold them accountable.

“These ‘characters’ who unleashed economic misery on the people of Pakistan will have to face accountability,” he added while delivering an address via a video link from London earlier this month.

Likewise, PMLN leader Rana Sanaullah assailed former generals Bajwa and Hamid earlier this week, declaring them “national criminals” and demanding action against them.

“The way the PMLN brought Gen Pervez Musharraf to justice, it will do the same to [both men],” he said.

Sanaullah sought “strict accountability” of former generals and judges, saying that it was a policy statement on behalf of the party.

In an interview with a private TV channel on Friday, Khursheed Shah was asked about Nawaz’s statement, to which he said the materialisation of the PMLN’s plan of going after the two former military leaders seemed “very difficult”.

“Did anyone touch the man who was sentenced under Article 6 of the Constitution? He was later hospitalised, and subsequently transferred to Dubai,” Shah remarked, referring to late military dictator Musharraf.

“Let’s refrain from engaging in such conflicts,” he advised the PMLN, further noting that “politicians often find themselves entangled in such situations”. He stressed the need to direct attention towards guaranteeing fair elections, managing increasing inflation, adhering to the Charter of Democracy and establishing good governance traditions.

He expressed the PPP’s ongoing interest in cooperation and institution-building, emphasising that all institutions upheld the primacy of parliament.

“We should refrain from emotionalism or resorting to political invective,” he added.

He also claimed that the PPP had faced “significant pressure” to join the erstwhile ruling coalition led by the Pakistan Democratic Movement.

“Initially, we proposed that we would vote [in favour of the no-confidence motion against ex-PM Imran Khan] but won’t join the government thereafter. But we were told [by the then-opposition] that if we won’t become part of the government, they wouldn’t proceed with the vote of no-confidence,” he said.

On the PPP demanding a level playing field in elections from the PMLN, Shah maintained that some of those associated with Nawaz’s party were part of the incumbent caretaker government. “That is why we made this demand on them.”

He also said it seemed the “actual prime minister” was the Establishment Division’s secretary, not caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar. “The one who runs the Establishment Division, he is the prime minister.” Asked whether the impression was right that the announcement of Kakar’s appointment as the interim PM was made after then-PM Shehbaz and former opposition leader Raja Riaz were “handed chits” with the caretaker premier’s name written on it, he replied in the affirmative.