ISLAMABAD: Leader of Opposition in the Senate Aitzaz Ahsan Thursday called upon fellow politicians to engage in ‘self-criticism’ instead of targeting state institutions, fearing this will lead the country nowhere except paving the way for yet another coup.
In his farewell speech in the House, Aitzaz commended the armed forces, particularly Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa and his predecessor General Raheel Sharif, and said the duo always led from the front unlike their former army chiefs, who never came out of their cosy cabins.
“Despite the fact the Army cleared Waziristan from hardcore terrorists, lost hundreds of its young officers along with thousands of soldiers, while an equal number of its men were left handicapped, but even then they (military) are being maligned,” he regretted.
Aitzaz alleged that those attacking the higher judiciary of the country in speeches and rallies were creating space for a dictator to overthrow the democratic setup.
The opposition leader said the judiciary seemed to be dealing with its critics with too soft a hand. The PPP stalwart said, “The rulers claim that the court verdicts are written somewhere else but why you are unable to expose them if you are sure that the verdicts are written somewhere else.”
Aitzaz came down hard on ruling PML-N, particularly Nawaz Sharif, for their diatribe against the Supreme Court, saying that anger of the rulers was because they are the “soiled brat” of the flawed system which had a track record of choice verdict.
He contended that the courts were showing great restraint as the language used by Nawaz Sharif and Co was not acceptable, adding that they celebrate when the same bench gives ruling in their favour in Hudaibiya Papers’ Mills and Orange Line train cases — it shows their intentions because what they want is Kangaroo court and judges like Malik Qayum. “The way bureaucrats are being forced to hold pen down strikes against the courts is disobedience against the system and again I would say these things will not serve any purpose except seeing a military general addressing the nation by saying ‘my dear countrymen’,” he warned.
Attacking Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi for showing unconditional loyalty to Nawaz Sharif, he said the incumbent prime minister never exhausts by saying that he would dissolve the assemblies the day Nawaz Sharif wanted, which is violation of the Constitution.
“The standard operating procedure (SOP) of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) is to put the name of the accused on Exit Control List (ECL), but the anti-graft body is not showing any spine to put Sharifs’ names on the list,” he lamented.
Aitzaz said the way Nawaz Sharif appeared before accountability courts with a convoy of over 40 protocol vehicles surrounded by government ministers was to pressure the Army.
“He (Nawaz Sharif) does not spare the Chief Justice of Pakistan, but can you imagine how much impact it leaves on accountability court judge Chaudhry Bashir when a disqualified man enters the court along with top government functionaries,” he questioned.
The PPP senator said that Nawaz Sharif was out to settle scores with judiciary after it disqualified him for holding an Iqama (work permit), adding that if the prime minister of a civilised country had been holding such a permit, he would been in jail straight.
He recalled that when the apex court had ruled against former prime minister Yusuf Raza Gilani for not writing a letter to a Swiss magistrate, Nawaz Sharif demanded Gilani to abide by Supreme Court order and quit as PM.
“But now when the same Supreme Court ruled against Nawaz, he along with his daughter is holding rallies against the judiciary and people are made to chant slogans against the verdict,” he decried. Despite standing down of Senator Farhatullah Babar as spokesman for former president Asif Zardari after his hard-hitting speech in Senate, Aitzaz Ahsan said he agreed with each and every word of Babar’s speech.
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