“All of us should take notice of this as this is a dangerous matter,' FM Qureshi says
Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has said that an attempt was made to tarnish the image of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) through an affidavit which alleged that former chief justice of Pakistan Saqib Nisar had attempted to manipulate judicial proceedings against PML-N’s Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz.
Speaking in the National Assembly Friday, FM Qureshi said that it was stated in the affidavit that the former CJP had issued orders to the subordinate judges.
He questioned the motive behind the affidavit which he said came to light after three years through a story that was published in a newspaper.
“It was surprising that the judge who was accused was not even a member of the IHC bench, which shows the veracity of the allegations made in the affidavit.”
Without mentioning the name of former prime minister Nawaz, who is living in London nowadays, the foreign minister said that it was also clear in which city the oath was taken. "We all need to learn from our past."
"On the one hand, everyone is calling for the independence of the judiciary, but they do entirely the opposite to it."
“There were attacks on the Supreme Court and an attempt was made to take a decision from Justice Qayyum but nothing proved beneficial.”
He said that the Rana Shamim issue is sub-judice and he could not discuss it further, adding: “All of us should take notice of this, this is a dangerous matter.”
It is pertinent to mention here that the IHC on Thursday formally charged ex-chief justice of Gilgit-Baltistan Rana Shamim for allegations he levelled against the former chief justice of Pakistan Saqib Nisar in the affidavit.
Achievements in foreign policy domain
Highlighting the achievement in the foreign policy domain, Qureshi said the present government has given a new direction from geo-politics to geo-economics for the welfare of people.
He said the country’s economy has now touched a 5.37% growth rate regardless of the contraction caused by COVID-19 to the international economies.
He said according to a survey of the World Bank, Pakistan's agriculture sector is growing by 3.3%. He said the country's exports and remittances also hit record levels, while the statistics show that per capita income is also on the rise.
The foreign minister said despite a gas shortage, urea production has witnessed an increase, adding that the government was providing urea to the farmers at much lower rates than the international market and warned that action would be taken against those hoarding the commodity.
FM Qureshi admitted that inflation poses a major challenge to the public. He, however, said there are several international factors behind it, including an increase in the price of gas and petroleum products in global markets.
The foreign minister said the government welcomes the criticism from the Opposition, but they should not spread despondency amongst the people as it is not in the interest of the country.
"We took painful decisions to stabilise the economy."
Taking over the floor of the National Assembly, PML-N Secretary-General Ahsan Iqbal said judging by the foreign minister's speech, it seems like he works for every other ministry except for his own.
"It felt like Shah Mahmood was giving an interview to someone during his speech [...] I saw Shaukat Tarin, Dr Hafeez Sheikh, and some others in Shah Mahmood," he said.
The PML-N leader said FM Qureshi actually had to tell the House about the students who are stranded in Pakistan and want to go back to China for their studies — and the foreign minister did not answer."
For his part, Minister for Energy Hammad Azhar categorically stated that gas theft will not be tolerated in any part of the country.
Responding to a calling attention notice in the National Assembly on Friday, he expressed satisfaction that Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited has significantly reduced its system losses from 12.5% to 8.5% over the last three years.
He said there is a need to bring further improvement to SSGC. He pointed out that the country’s gas reserves are depleting at the rate of nine per cent annually.