President won’t bow before third class Swiss magistrate: PM Ashraf
LAHORE: Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf made it unequivocally clear on Saturday that come the next Supreme Court hearing, the government’s stance on not writing a letter to the Swiss authorities will remain unchanged, adding that the “PPP leaders and workers would not let their first class president capitulate before a third class Swiss magistrate, as the Constitution forbade it.”
“All the legal experts have given us the same opinion so we will see the matter from the same angle,” the PM said while talking to columnists and editors at the Governor’s House.
He said that President Asif Ali Zardari would enjoy constitutional immunity till his last day in office. “He (Asif Zardari) is the democratically elected President of Pakistan and as per law he enjoys immunity as long as he holds office.
In an interesting new twist to the issue that has already claimed his predecessor’s head, Raja Pervaiz Ashraf said that it was actually the Constitution itself that hindered writing a letter to the Swiss authorities. Ashraf said that the government believed in the supremacy of the Constitution and law. He said that the government’s stance over the letter to the Swiss court would be made public on July 12.
He said if all institutions in the country worked within their ambits, there would be no problem in the country. Raja Ashraf said that the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) was willing to sit with the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) over the appointment of the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC).
The PM said that the Rental Power Plants (RPPs) were not properly understood, acknowledging that he could not accurately clarify his statements regarding the energy crisis in the country. “The statement given in December 2009 regarding an end to loadshedding still haunt me,” he said.
Regarding the law and order situation in Karachi, he said after the NFC Award, all the provinces had been granted powers and now it was the responsibility of the provinces to take care of law and order, and the army could not be sent in to maintain order.
The prime minister said the army was patriotic and was rendering enormous sacrifices for the country and had always played a crucial role during natural calamites.
He said in order to strengthen democracy, all parties needed to be strengthened. He said the PPP was committed to avoiding the politics of confrontation, adding that the party was focusing on resolving national issues through mutual consultation.
He said that an inter-provincial meeting would soon be convened to discuss necessary preventive measures in view of the upcoming monsoon rains and the provincial authorities had been directed to take all possible steps on a war-footing in the face of any natural calamity.
The PM said that the uncertainty prevailing in the country was harmful to the institutions and undue importance given to a single issue might be detrimental to democracy. He urged all the institutions to work for the betterment of the country and stability of the political system and expressed the resolve that the PPP-led coalition government would protect parliament and the Constitution, and abide by laws.
The PM said that the government would take all possible measures to ensure transparent, free and fair election in the country. He asked the opposition to cooperate with the government in resolving the issues being faced by the country. “I respect the PML-N leadership and the mandate of the Punjab government,” he said.
The PM said the government had taken measures to overcome the energy crisis in the country and efforts would bear fruit soon. He said that his government had inherited the energy crisis from the previous regimes, adding that loadshedding was not a phenomenon restricted to Pakistan only but the Middle East, India, Sri Lanka and even European countries were facing problems in the energy sector. He said due to high prices of oil in the international market, the cost of electricity had been increasing in Pakistan.
He said the accountability process initiated by Saifur Rehman during the Nawaz Sharif government also damaged the expansion of Independent Power Producers (IPPs). He said 9,000MW power was being added to the system from the IPPs.
On the Balochistan issue, the PM said Pakistan had been facing problems since 1947 and that the Pakistani nation had the strength to face such issues. He said the Balochistan issue was very important as it was the biggest province and had huge resources.
Meanwhile, addressing the Punjab PPP parliamentarians at the Governor’s House, Raja Ashraf called upon the PPP MPAs and party workers to utilise all their energies and abilities for the cause of public service as envisaged in the party manifesto.
Addressing the People’s Lawyers Forum here, PM Raja Pervaiz Ashraf urged the political parties to shun the politics of confrontation and point-scoring as such practices could harm democracy. The PM also announced a Rs5 million grant for the Faisalabad Bar Association and Rs2 million for Jhang Bar Association.
Raja Pervaiz Ashraf also visited the mausoleum of Allama Muhammad Iqbal to offer his respects to the revered poet and laid a floral wreath at his grave.
In the evening, Raja Pervaiz Ashraf left for Islamabad after ending his two-day visit to the provincial capital.