While the setting up of parallel investigations into the memo scandal has created a sense of conflict between the government and judiciary, Nawaz Sharif questioned, on Saturday, the wisdom behind the executive’s decision to task a parliamentary panel with the job to begin with.
Referring to a statement by President Asif Ali Zardari that the government would respect the findings of the parliamentary committee on national security on Memogate – a statement that tacitly suggested that a Supreme Court-mandated judicial commission’s verdict on the same issue would not be accepted – Nawaz said: “We want to make it clear that the Supreme Court cannot work on the whims of an individual. The entire nation is standing by the apex court. And if anybody tries to sack the Supreme Court, the nation will revolt.”
He expressed regret that the government had not yet backed off despite the court’s ruling in favour of a judicial probe.
The head of the principal opposition, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), told a convention of party workers in Quetta, that this move was a continuation of the policy followed by the government for the past four years – that is, not honouring any ruling of the apex court. This, he said, shows that the incumbents have no regard for the country’s superior judiciary.
He also questioned the motives behind the rush to control investigations into the memo – and why the government had not pushed its committees to investigate other important issues such as the US commando raid in Abbottabad, the terrorist attack on PNS Mehran, the murder of journalists Saleem Shehzad and Wali Khan Babar or the Raymond Davis issue.
Regarding early elections, Nawaz said: “We’re ready to contest, if the elections are held ahead of schedule.”
Balochistan Chief Minister Nawab Aslam Raisani said last week that he was trying to narrow down differences between President Zardari and Nawaz and arrange a one-on-one meeting between the two leaders.
Nawaz said he wasn’t aware of this ‘expected meeting’. “I found out through the media that Nawab Raisani is trying to arrange our meeting.”
Meanwhile, as differences emerged in its provincial leadership, the PML-N elected Provincial Minister for Services and General Administration Sardar Sanaullah Zehri its provincial president for Balochistan and Naseebullah Bazai as general secretary of the PML-N.
“The leadership has ignored workers who struggled for the party during the dictatorship. We will not accept this election,” workers led by Nawabzada Jhangez Marri said, clearly annoyed by Zehri’s appointment.
PML-N chief Nawaz was scheduled to address party workers after the election – however, he was seen storming out of the hall following the chaos that erupted between workers of two provincial leaders.
The disgruntled leaders will now look towards the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) if their concerns aren’t addressed immediately, sources revealed.
After hectic efforts by the party’s central leadership, Nawaz returned to the hall to address the media and his party workers, and reiterated that the general elections must be held without further delay.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 8th, 2012.
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