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Monday March 04, 2024

Nawaz Sharif’s confidential ‘note’ contradicts his narrative

Nawaz Sharif’s note is a major contradiction in his narrative of seeking accountability of the ex-COAS and others for conspiring against his government in 2017

September 26, 2023
Nawaz Sharif. The screengrab of a Twitter video.
Nawaz Sharif. The screengrab of a Twitter video.

ISLAMABAD: Nawaz Sharif’s note, sent to Khawaja Asif in January 2020, on the issue of the extension of the then Army Chief General (R) Qamar Javed Bajwa, is a major contradiction in his narrative of seeking accountability of the ex-COAS and others for conspiring against his government in 2017.

The PMLN, in January 2020, had unconditionally endorsed the legislation, moved by the PTI government, to give three-year extension to Gen Bajwa following a nod from Nawaz Sharif. Now Nawaz Sharif demands accountability of Gen Bajwa, ex-DGISI Gen Faiz, ex-CJPs Saqib Nisar and Asif Saeed Khosa and Justice Ijazul Ahsan for removing his government to pave the way for Imran Khan government.

Question is being raised how the PMLN chief Mian Nawaz Sharif can now talk about the 2017 conspiracy when in 2020 he and his party had given three-year extension to the former Army Chief.

In early Jan 2020, Nawaz Sharif had sent a “confidential” note to Khawaja Asif with the direction that the PMLN should look at the PTI government bill positively for stability in the country. Nawaz Sharif only wanted that the legislation should not be bulldozed. Nawaz suggested a timeframe for the legislation but it was not followed and even then the PMLN fully endorsed it.

Nawaz Sharif’s note read: “Dear Khawaja Sb, I hope you are well. I received your message that the Govt has agreed to extend the time by 24 hours. It is not in the interest of any party to show undue haste or to bulldoze the rules and procedures. Such important bills cannot be passed in 24 or for that matter 48 hours. We would like to look at the bill positively for stability in the country. However, we cannot possibly allow the dignity of the parliament to be compromised. My suggestion is that we stress upon the Govt to adopt the following procedure for the bill as per parliamentary norms:-

Fri Jan 3 - Bill is laid in the NA and referred to the Standing Committee; Meanwhile, political parties hold their parliamentary party sessions to consider the bill and formulate recommendations for their members on the standing committee;

Tue 7 Jan & Wed 8 Jan - Standing Committee considers the Bill and sends Report to NA; Thurs Jan 9 and Friday Jan 10 - NA considers, debates, and votes on the Bill and transmits it to the Senate; Mon Jan 13 - Senate sends the bill to its Standing Committee for consideration; Wed Jan 15 - Senate considers, debates, and votes on the Bill. This is the minimum possible timeframe for the passage of the Bill with meaningful input from all concerned. We should also be cognizant of the fact that the Parliament should not be seen to rubber-stamp a bill of such importance. The political fallout for all parties will be substantial if parliamentary norms are not properly observed. Please hold the parliamentary party meeting before the government tables the bill tomorrow and read out and issue these instructions to all honorable party members in the NA and Senate. Kind regards, Muhammad Nawaz Sharif.”

Following the nod from Nawaz, the PMLN party meeting met and announced unconditional support for the extension of Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa as the chief of the army staff for three years.

It was then said that the PMLN leadership did not want the position of the army chief to become controversial, and had therefore decided to support the government to amend the Army Act.