A day after the government ordered a judicial inquiry into the tragic Bhoja Air crash, the opposition heaped scorn at the premier for the ‘controversial makeup’ of the commission for this purpose.
Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, the leader of the opposition in the National Assembly, said on Sunday that the government formed the judicial commission without the consent of the apex court.
“The so-called commission cannot be termed a ‘judicial’ commission, which has been set up to cover up facts,” he told a news conference in Islamabad.
A judicial commission is one which includes serving judges and is set up either in consultation with a high court chief justice or the chief justice of Pakistan, Khan said.
The judges, who took oath under the Provisional Constitution Order (PCO) of former military ruler Pervez Musharraf, faced contempt charges themselves and did not qualify to be called judges, he added.
The commission named by the government comprises Justice (retd) Syed Zahid Hussain and Justice (retd) Nasim Sikandar and a police official to be appointed by the interior ministry.
Accusing President Asif Ali Zardari of favouring the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), Chaudhry Nisar said that his party, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, would not accept false findings. “We will challenge this cover-up even if we have to go to the courts.”
Chaudhry Nisar also accused one of the commission’s members of being a ‘blue-eyed’ official of President Zardari.
“Can the prime minister not help appointing controversial persons?” questioned Chaudhry Nisar. “It is a planned move as the commission will do whatever is desired by the government,” he said.
He also accused the government of concealing facts in several cases, including the May 2 Abbottabad raid, Mehran base attack, Memogate scandal and the ongoing Ephedrine quota case against the premier’s son.
“The government has once again turned a national tragedy into a controversy, but we will question this in the National Assembly,” Khan said.
Referring to the 2010 Airblue tragedy, he said: “The people still don’t know the reasons for the crash: Who is responsible? How can such accidents be avoided in the future? We want to know the facts, whosoever is responsible.”
Published in The Express Tribune, April 23rd, 2012.