Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan announced that due to Ayaz Sadiq’s partiality over the disqualification issue, he no longer considers him as the National Assembly speaker.
“From today I will refer to him as Ayaz Sadiq instead of NA speaker,” Imran said, while adding that instead of progressing, democracy is constantly declining in Pakistan. Following Imran’s remarks, PTI parliamentarians staged a walkout from the House.
“People are losing trust in the country’s democracy,” he said, while addressing the National Assembly on Thursday. Imran said the struggle for democracy in Islam began with first two caliphs facing accountability trials in courts.
“Today, the West is ahead of us just because their prime ministers are accountable to the public..several world leaders had to resign because they lied to the people of their country.”
Imran lamented that fact that the NA Speaker was not present in the assembly. “I am disappointed that Ayaz Sadiq is not here in the assembly because I wanted to ask him some questions.”
“By closing doors of justice to the people, the state institutions open doors of anarchy in the country,” Imran said.
Taking a jibe at premier Nawaz, the PTI chief claimed that instead of answering people on the Panama Leaks issue, the prime minister is busy inaugurating development projects.
Delving into the issue of rigged elections, the PTI chief said, “We cannot have free and fair elections until we punish those who have been involved in rigging.” He stressed that democracy only progresses with strong institutions.
Days after the National Assembly speaker dismissed all references seeking disqualification of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Imran attended the National Assembly session to question the decision.
“Passing a reference against me [Imran Khan] and denying one against the prime minister has hurt the credibility of the parliament,” Imran said before the House.
Referring to the issue of ToRs and inquiry over the Panama Leaks issue, Imran said, it is the opposition’s right to raise voice against the government’s violation of laws.
“After the premier offered himself for accountability on this forum, the opposition prepared ToRs with mutual consent, soon after which PM Nawaz backed out.”
“We have waited for five months for an inquiry into Panama Papers,” he said while adding that PTI lodged a reference for PM’s disqualification with the speaker only after waiting for five months.
“However, a counter reference was filed by the government for my disqualification,” he said. “I am being targeted for pointing out corruption in the ranks of government and state institutions.”
The PTI chief urged the ruling party’s parliamentarians to demand accountability from the prime minister instead of criticising the opposition parties. “Today, Pakistan’s future is at stake. As a Pakistani I request you to think about your country. Your country is failing. In the end you will be answerable to God, not Nawaz Sharif,” he said.
Later, talking to media outside the parliament, senior PTI leader Shah Mehmood Qureshi thanked all opposition parties for supporting PTI’s stance in the House.
Addressing the media before arriving at the Parliament House, Imran said, “PM Nawaz is destroying state institutions and in order to save democracy, we must protect these institutions.” He also said that he would raise the issue of references before the assembly.
Ayaz Sadiq dismissed on Monday all references seeking disqualification of PM Nawaz, while sending similar references against two leaders of the PTI to the top poll supervisory body for action.
“After looking into the eight references I had received, I referred two to the Election Commission of Pakistan,” said Sadiq, who belongs to the ruling PML-N, on Monday as he sent the references against PTI Chairman Imran Khan and his senior aide Jahangir Tareen to the ECP for further ‘action as per the law’.
“It is the ECP which has to take a decision on my recommendations within 90 days,” he added.
Further, the debate over Sadiq’s ‘partisan ruling’ in a spate of disqualification references may ultimately be decided in court, with the PTI announcing on Wednesday that “it was weighing the option”.
“It’s possible that the PTI may exercise the option of moving the court of law against the decision of the speaker,” PTI Vice-Chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi said while talking to The Express Tribune.
Sadiq after receiving eight references – four against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, two against Imran Khan and one against Jahangir Tareen – had authored a detailed ruling, commenting that the documentary evidence ‘did not add up’ in all but two references that he referred to the ECP.
Incidentally, the two references that he sent to the commission targeted the PTI leaders. The opposition – particularly the PTI and the PPP – strongly protested against the speaker’s ‘partisan attitude’.