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January 12, 2020

Services chiefs’ appointment: Opposed hasty legislation not extension, says Rana Sanaullah

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January 12, 2020

LAHORE: The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, leader, Rana Sanaullah has said the party is not opposed to giving extension to the incumbent Chief of Army Staff, but was concerned over the hasty procedure adopted for legislation about the tenure of armed forces’ chiefs.

Addressing a press conference here on Saturday, he admitted that his party should not have been part of the "undue haste" exhibited by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf over legislation about the tenure of armed services chiefs. The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government, with the backing of the PML-N and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), legislated on the issue with a near unanimous approval in the parliament recently. The move was necessitated by the Supreme Court's Nov 28 orders, in which it had directed the federal government to legislate within six months.

Flanked by other party leaders, Sanaullah recalled that Prime Minister Imran Khan's August 19 decision to give the army chief an extension had not been contested by the major political parties. "This government's failure to follow the procedural requirement is the reason that the amendments became controversial. It was not our party or anyone else who played a role in that," he added. Sanaullah admitted that his party should not have been part of the "undue haste" with which the amendments were rushed through the parliament in a single day. He said that PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif had conveyed the same message to party leaders. "A lot of people were surprised by the decision of the ruling party to convene an emergency session of the parliament to pass the Army Act amendments. Upon further inquiries, it was conveyed that the amendments had to be passed in a single day," Sanaullah noted.

"Our parliamentary party also became part of this undue haste. Our party realises that this was a political shortcoming on our part. We should not have become a part of this undue haste, and rather we should have stopped it," the former provincial minister added. The PML-N leader said that Nawaz Sharif had advised the parliamentary party not to support any legislation in undue haste as it would make it seem as if the parliament was 'rubber-stamping' the orders of someone else. He said those criticising the party's conduct on the legislation were not the workers of the PML-N. To a question, Rana Sanaullah said that the PML-N had not backtracked on Nawaz Sharif’s narrative to ‘Vote ko izzat do’ (Give respect to vote).

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