Shehbaz asks COAS, DG ISI to 'bring evidence'

PML-N leader asks COAS, SC to look into allegations of betrayal, US backing for no-trust move

Our Correspondent April 05, 2022
PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif. PHOTO: EXPRESS/FILE


Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Shehbaz Sharif on Tuesday urged the chief of army staff and director-general for Inter-Services Intelligence to bring forth evidence, if any, of the opposition's 'treason'.

Addressing the media in Islamabad, he demanded that the establishment should clarify if they had "signed the minutes of the National Security Committee meeting which said that the opposition has played a role in the foreign conspiracy".

"Did the establishment approve them? Were they vetted? These are the answers the nation wants to know today."

Shehbaz said that the deputy speaker's ruling had declared 197 members of the Parliament "traitors". “This is the same Imran Niazi who refused to remove the French ambassador, citing economic ruin and claimed that the European Union would be angered by the ambassador’s removal,” he said.

According to Shehbaz, the “same Imran” had now sacrificed the interests of Pakistan for his own sake and was “ready to sacrifice everything for his own self”.

“If we did commit the crime, all evidence will come to light,” he said, requesting the Supreme Court to also investigate the matter.

Shehbaz further maintained that the opposition had been calling the current government “fake” for the past three years and that they were only called ‘traitors’ after they launched the no-trust move against Imran Khan.

He claimed that he has not received "any letter" from President Dr Arif Alvi regarding the proposal of names for the appointment of caretaker prime minister.

"As I speak, I have not received officially any letter from President Alvi," he said.

The PML-N leader’s statement follows on the heels of his categorical refusal to be part of any consultations over the matter as he contended that since the move to dissolve the National Assembly was “extra-constitutional”, he would wait for the apex court’s ruling on the matter.

Shehbaz, as a former Leader of the opposition in the NA, was supposed to propose an interim premier, along with Imran Khan, under 224 A of the Constitution of Pakistan.

Read Zardari asks establishment to clear position on Imran's ‘foreign conspiracy’ allegations

Yesterday, President Arif Alvi said that he had written a letter to PM Imran and Shehbaz to "propose a suitable person for appointment".  The prime minister had nominated the former chief justice of Pakistan Gulzar Ahmed for the office of the caretaker prime minister.

The president had written another letter to Shehbaz to inform him of Justice (retd) Ahmed's nomination and asked him to either agree with it or present his own nominee by April 6.

"If no response is received within the stipulated time, the appointment of caretaker prime minister will be processed in accordance with the Constitution," the letter reads.

Shehbaz expressed ignorance about receiving any such letter from the president, saying that he, whenever the letter is received, would first hold consultations with his legal team and opposition partners before sending names for the interim prime minister.

However, he doubled down on his insistence that both President Alvi and PM Khan have “violated and trampled the constitution”. A decision on this matter should first be taken. The rest of the things will be seen later, he added.

On April 3, President Alvi dissolved the National Assembly on the advice of Prime Minister Imran Khan, hours after the National Assembly Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri declared the opposition’s no-confidence motion “unconstitutional” and prorogued the house without voting on it.

The prime minister advised the president to dissolve the assembly under Article 58 of the Constitution. Imran took the decision of sending the summary after accusing the joint opposition of working with the United States to overthrow his government.

The extraordinary events and ensuing constitutional crisis prompted the Supreme Court to take immediate suo motu notice and review the legality of the moves, noting that any step taken by the president or the prime minister was subject to the top court’s ruling.

It is pertinent to mention that earlier in the day, Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial had said that the Supreme Court did not want to get into the investigation of policy matters as it only wanted to ascertain the constitutionality of the steps taken by the deputy speaker.

The apex court wanted to see if the ruling of the deputy speaker could be reviewed by the bench, the top judge said. “The court does not interfere in the state matters and foreign affairs," he said, adding that the SC will merely decide on the legitimacy of the speaker’s action.


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