The ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) on Wednesday acknowledged that it was in hot waters and the entire thing had a connection with former military dictator General (retd) Pervez Musharraf.
“This is a fact that the problems the PML-N is facing are because of its decision to try Gen Musharraf for violating the Constitution,” said the PML-N Deputy Secretary General and Minister for Planning Ahsan Iqbal at a press conference.
Responding to a question regarding the political pressure on the PML-N from several opposition groups, the minister said his party had no objections if cases against Musharraf were to be withdrawn.
“But in that case a constitutional amendment is to be introduced, which should make it clear that there are two laws in the country: one for the generals and the other for common man,” he added.
However, if there is only one law, then everyone should be answerable to courts and Musharraf should prove his innocence there, he added.
Commenting on the recent statement of former prime minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani that both the PML-N and PPP were part of a deal to give safe exit to Musharraf, he said: “All this noise has given the impression that friends of Musharraf are once again active.”
Clarifying his party’s position, the minister said that if there had been a deal, Musharraf would have got exemption from the trial.
Iqbal, however, said the PML-N had nothing against the army as an institution and that the army is a professional institution which believes in rule of law. “We are not taking revenge from any institution,” he added.
He said his party had nothing personal against Musharraf and that he should be dealt with in accordance with the law. Iqbal, however, did not give a clear answer when asked whether Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif would reach out to political leadership to have a consensus on national issues.
“Those who have sacrificed for democracy will not become part of any conspiracy to derail the democratic system,” he said.
The minister hit hard at Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan’s plan to hold a rally on August 14. “This all is being done to sabotage the progress the country has achieved in last 14 months,” he said.
The PML-N leader went on to say that the PTI had been doing all this to divide the nation on Independence Day and to divert attention from the military operation Zarb-e-Azb in North Wazirstan.
“Imran Khan chose to hold a rally at a time when Pakistan is fighting against terrorists. Imran chose this time perhaps because he is against the operation and wants to create a situation detrimental to the success of the operation,” he added.
He said Imran Khan should have dedicated all his resources and time for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), who left their homes for the sake of Pakistan ‘but is once again leaving for United Kingdom’.
“Imran should tell us with whom he meets in London, who is financing his rallies and which forces sent Dr Tahirul Qadri from Canada to Pakistan?” he questioned.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 17th, 2014.