After the Supreme Court threw the ball into the civilian government’s court – asking it to probe and prosecute those guilty of taking money – the prime minister has vowed that action would be initiated without delay.
Premier Raja Pervaiz Ashraf strongly endorsed the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Asghar Khan case on Friday, vowing that all accused would be prosecuted as per law after transparent investigations.
He also called on them to “apologise to the nation for stealing the elections.”
The premier’s statements came hours after the apex court announced its short order declaring that the 1990 elections were rigged by the then intelligence and army chiefs, during a press conference at the PM House.
Prime Minister Ashraf termed the court’s ruling “significant”, adding that it vindicates the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and shows how democracy had been murdered two decades ago.
He recalled a statement of then party chairman Benazir Bhutto, saying that the “establishment had ‘stolen the election and had run amok’ and they had gotten out of control.” The prime minister said it was unfortunate that the elections were stolen, which amounted to a robbery of the people’s mandate.
“One person was not wronged, a couple of hundred people were not wronged, a few thousands were not wronged, the entire nation was wronged; but today history has spat out the truth,” he declared.
“Those who talk of democracy, of good governance, there are now some questions before them to answer.”
Prime Minister Ashraf said that, as per the short order, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) would initiate inquiries against those accused in the case in a fair and transparent manner, after which action would be taken against them as per the law and Constitution.
He also assured that the findings of the investigations would be made public and every penny of the funds taken from the public to rig the elections would be recovered.
“Investigations will bring to fore all those who all were involved in this conspiracy and the law will look upon all equally. As chief executive, I guarantee that the inquiries will be made in a fair and transparent manner, and that every penny shall be recovered,” he said.
In response to another question, the prime minister said that holding free, fair and transparent elections was the biggest challenge they faced. The PPP would never rig elections since they were themselves a victim of rigged elections, he added.
Premier Ashraf also denied the existence of any political cell in the Presidency.
(Read: In the ‘national interest’)
Published in The Express Tribune, October 20th, 2012.
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