PM scoffs at ‘external enemies and mafias within’

Published: November 28, 2019

Prime Minister Imran Khan has hailed the Supreme Court ruling in a case that stole the spotlight and kept the nation glued to their TV screens for three days amid fears of a potential crisis in the country.

He welcomed Thursday’s apex court verdict in the case regarding extension/reappointment of Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa saying that it would have caused “great disappointment” to “external enemies and mafias within”.

The prime minister took to Twitter shortly after the apex court gave the government six months to legislate on the matter of service extension of COAS Gen Qamar. In a series of tweets, he taunted those who were expecting “confrontation between the state institutions”.

“Today must be a great disappointment to those who expected the country to be destabilised by a clash of institutions. That this did not happen must be of special disappointment to our external enemies & mafias within,” the prime minister wrote on his official Twitter handle.

By “external enemies”, the premier is understood to be referring to India where the media took unusual interest with sinister motives in this case which kept Pakistan on tenterhooks for three days. In a second tweet, Imran explained the word “mafias” was directed at opposition politicians.

“Mafias who have stashed their loot abroad and seek to protect this loot by destabilising the country,” the prime minister said while referring to his political rivals who he blames for plundering the national exchequer and pushing the country into a vicious debt trap.

Premier Imran also heaped praise on Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, who headed the apex court bench that gave Thursday’s ruling. “Also, for the record, I have the greatest respect for CJ [Chief Justice] Khosa, one of the greatest Jurists produced by Pakistan,” he wrote on the popular microblogging site.

The prime minister also reminded that the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf was the first party which had championed the cause of an independent judiciary which is necessary for a vibrant democracy and rule of law in the country.

“For the record, 23 years ago we were the first party to advocate an independent judiciary and rule of law. In 2007, the PTI was in the forefront of the movement for independence of the judiciary & I was jailed for it,” he wrote.

Political analysts believe that the prime minister should have not attacked his rivals on this occasion because it might become difficult for the government to legislate on the matter in the presence of an unsupportive opposition.

Perhaps with this in mind, the prime minister’s cabinet members and his senior party colleagues moved quickly to control the damage with conciliatory statements.

“The PTI government with the help of opposition parties would bring reforms or make legislation before the six-month deadline set by the Supreme Court for the purpose of reappointing the army chief,” Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said while speaking in a TV show.

He said the government was not sure about the PPP’s stance on the planned legislation but he was sure that the “PML-N would definitely help us in this matter”. He wouldn’t say why he was confident of PML-N’s support.

National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser said parliament would fulfill its constitutional responsibility and all parties would be contacted for legislation on the matter. “We will move forward after reviewing the detailed judgment of the Supreme Court,” he told the media in Islamabad.

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