Feeling the heat of the ongoing crackdown on corrupt government officials in Sindh, a senior leader of the province’s ruling party has ‘appealed’ to army chief General Raheel Sharif to allow the system to function according to the Constitution.
“I appeal to the army chief to let the system function under the law and constitutional norms,” Khursheed Shah, the leader of the opposition in the National Assembly, who belongs to the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), told journalists in his chamber on Tuesday.
Shah’s media interaction came a day after his party’s co-chairman, Asif Ali Zardari, blamed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for immobilising the Sindh government and arresting senior PPP leaders. The government, however, said Zardari’s outburst might have been the result of some misunderstanding.
Shah explained that his party blamed Premier Nawaz for the arrest of PPP leaders because “he is the constitutional head of the country and its institutions”. Shah asked the prime minister to explain why the ongoing operation was only restricted to Sindh, the province where the PPP has been in power for the past eight years.
“We do not support corruption. But our question is why one province is being targeted,” he said, adding that such campaign should be across the board. Shah pointed out a number of graft cases that surfaced during the PML-N governments in the past. “Why those cases are not being investigated,” he asked.
Shah demanded that those who have been arrested on corruption charges be tried under relevant laws and not under special laws framed to try terrorists. “When anti-terrorism laws were being amended, leaders of all the political parties had demanded that such laws should not be used against politicians,” he added.
The PPP leader also criticised the government for sparing former military ruler General Pervez Musharraf, who had toppled the Nawaz government in 1999. “The Transparency International has reported that corruption was more rampant during the Musharraf era than during PPP’s tenure,” he said.
Asked if his party was considering quitting the assemblies, Shah said he would advise his party to stay in parliament and keep raising its voice from the platform.
Corps commander meets Sindh CM
Karachi Corps Commander Lt Gen Naveed Mukhtar held separate meetings with Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah and Governor Ishratul Ebad on the security situation in the province, particularly in Karachi, and implementation of the apex committee’s decisions. Transferring terrorism cases to the military courts also came under discussion.
Following his meeting with the corps commander, Chief Minister Qaim rushed to Bilawal House to meet PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari.
A source told The Express Tribune that Lt Gen Mukhtar had asked Qaim to convey his message to the PPP leadership. “The corps commander wants the PPP to stop levelling allegations against the paramilitary Rangers. He said the security agencies have concrete proof against those who have been arrested.”
Sources said Qaim conveyed PPP’s reservations to Lt Gen Mukhtar regarding former petroleum minister Dr Asim Hussain’s arrest, but the corps commander said: “The Rangers will prove all the allegations against him.”
According to a spokesperson for the CM House, Qaim and Lt Gen Mukhtar also discussed issues related to the ongoing targeted operation in Karachi.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 2nd, 2015.