ISLAMABAD: Law Minister Babar Awan has declared that President Asif Zardari can constitutionally keep both the offices of the President of Pakistan and the office of the co-chairperson of the PPP.
Winding up the debate on President Zardari’s April 5 address to the joint session of parliament in the Senate, he said nowhere in the constitution is it mentioned that the President cannot keep another office. He said non-political persons were raising objections to the president keeping the PPP office. He dared them to first enter politics and then confront the PPP.
He said the president’s party office is not a profit-yielding office, and declared that he will keep both offices. Awan said a lot of hue and cry was made that the president would not allow the passage of the 18th amendment and that he would use smaller parties to block the piece of legislation that clipped his powers. But, said the law minister, all such propaganda against the president proved baseless. President Zardari has fulfilled his promise and implemented the Charter of Democracy, he added.
He said the government was not averse to facing court cases. People should go to courts and face accountability but, he he said, accountability should not be directed against an individual and one political party alone. He said the PPP had never filed cases against political opponents but the party faced cases instituted by its foes. He said everyone knew who had formed the accountability cell. He said the PPP has never run away from accountability which is why the ministers are appearing in courts to face cases “which were all politically motivated”.
He also took a swipe at those who raised objection to the formation of the PPP core committee. The law minister said the situation has been very tough in the country but despite that the government has bravely faced all challenges. He said now nobody calls Pakistan a failed state. Awan said the people talking about low popularity graph of the PPP should fight the PPP in by-elections. He said the PPP has won by-elections in all four provinces. Earlier, while taking part in the debate on the Presidential address, a PPP Senator from Sindh, Maula Baksh Chandio, lashed out at the PML-N.
He was replying to the strong anti-PPP speeches made by the PML-N Senators on Tuesday. Chandio said today the PML-N talks about independence of judiciary, but it was not the PPP that stormed the Supreme Court building with party goons. He said the PML-N could not stomach the fact that Asif Zardari saved the PPP from disintegration and led it to victory at the hustings. “How the PML-N could object to President Zardari pardoning the sentence of Rehman Malik when its own leader Nawaz Sharif had sought pardon from a military dictator,” he questioned.
The PML-N Senators quietly listened to the scathing attack of Chandio in the same manner as the PPP Senators had done so when PML-N Senators spoke on Tuesday. Ismail Buledi of the JUI-F said that Punjab had not done any favour to Balochistan by agreeing to its increased share in the seventh NFC award.
Published in the Express Tribune, May 20th, 2010.
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