Defusing protests: Jirga proposes key govt concession

Says PM Nawaz Sharif should announce in advance that he would quit if rigging charges are proved.

Zahid Gishkori September 18, 2014
Defusing protests: Jirga proposes key govt concession


The opposition political jirga tested the government’s flexibility on Thursday, proposing that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif should announce in advance that he would quit if a judicial commission proves ‘systematic rigging’ in the May 2013 elections.

“The prime minister may state that he will resign from office if systematic rigging is proved and if it is established that he became the prime minister as a result of such rigging following an inquiry by the proposed judicial commission,” read a four-page letter that the jirga sent to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, the PTI chief Imran Khan and the PAT chief Dr Tahirul Qadri on Thursday.

The jirga is currently mediating talks between the government and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT).

“The statement [should be made] in parliament and may become part of the final agreement between the three stakeholders,” it said.

Speaking after the jirga’s meeting at Pakistan Peoples Party’s Senator Rehman Malik residence, Jamaat-e-Islami Ameer Sirajul Haq advised the government to listen to the protesting parties. In case the government ignores their advice, Haq warned the situation could escalate into something like Egypt’s crisis. “We don’t want an Egypt-like crisis in Pakistan,” he added.

Senator Rehman Malik also appealed to the three stakeholders to consider the proposal as a way out of the political quagmire. He appeared optimistic about the chances for success. “If the government releases all the PAT and PTI workers, talks will bear fruit.”

The jirga also wrote to the PTI chief Imran Khan that a judicial commission could be constituted by issuing an ordinance under Article 89 of the Constitution. This commission could be specifically mandated to take cognisance of any forgery, fraud, misuse of powers or abetment resulting to rigging in elections, it said.

“The commission will have the authority to direct the concerned police station for registration of criminal cases and also could refer the matter for taking cognisance to the concerned sessions judge under the elections laws,” it added. The jirga said the recommendations of the commission would be binding on the federal and provincial governments and other respective parties, who will be responsible for implementation.

“The commission may hire the services of foreign consultants for forensic analysis or technical help and it may co-opt the services of any police or any other officer for its assistance. The timeframe for the investigation may be mutually agreed,” it said.

The jirga proposed that the investigation of cases pertaining to the killing of the PAT workers on June 17 might be transferred to other provinces to overcome Dr Tahirul Qadri’s fear of possible influence of Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif in this case.

“The interior ministry will issue the notification for transfer of cases. The Joint Investigation Team will consist of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Intelligence Bureau (IB), Military Intelligence (MI) and Special Branch and there will be no Punjab police official in it.

“If it is considered appropriate and within laws the government may constitute a judicial commission to find involvement of the PM, Punjab CM and some federal ministers,” it said. Earlier, the PTI and the PAT delegations also held meetings with the jirga.

The PTI, which has decided to extend its anti-rigging protest nationwide, put three demands before the jirga and said the government must create conducive environment, release political workers and withdraw cases against them, if it wants to resume dialogue.

“We vowed to stand firm on our demands – but the yes doors for talks with the government to end the gridlock remains open,” the PTI MNA Shafqat Mahmood told The Express Tribune.

He said the sticking point is the definition of rigging. “At least the process of verification should start first – then of course it will go into depth the definition of rigging,” he added. The next meeting of the jirga members with the PAT and the PTI will proposed later.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 19th, 2014.


Civilian Government | 9 years ago | Reply

A sly maneuver by the Jirga to trap the Government.

Dr.A.K.Tewari | 9 years ago | Reply

The definition of rigging not existing in pak Constitution . Consultants from USA will coin the definition thereafter the commision will decide the case . Now go back and wait for more four year for final discision of the committion or be ready to spent few months on the footpath .

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