PML-N is ready to sacrifice the Punjab government for the dignity of the judiciary: Shahbaz Sharif.—File photo

LAHORE: The PML-N has threatened ‘direct action’ against the federal government for violating superior courts’ verdicts, while the PPP believes that the opposition party is using the ‘judicial card’ to undermine it.

“The PPP has declared a war against the judiciary and justice. We cannot witness this situation in silence and will take direct action with full might to foil nefarious designs of this corrupt government and its crook allies,” Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif said at a news conference in Model Town on Tuesday.

He said the government was doing everything to cover up its corruption and regretted that, like President Asif Ali Zardari, the attitude of Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani was also disappointing in complying with court orders.

Warning the government that “the nation that had taken to the streets for restoration of independent judiciary can also ensure respect of the judges”, Shahbaz said his party was ready to even sacrifice the Punjab government for the dignity of the judiciary.

He indicated that his party would support the apex court if it sought armed forces’ help for getting its verdicts implemented. Answering a question he said that every institution, party and individual should come forward to assist the judiciary in providing justice to people.

Refusing to elaborate the ‘direct’ action, he said all options, including a long march, were on the table but a final decision would be taken at a party meeting soon after elections of its offices-bearers on Wednesday.

PPP circles believe that having failed to get any assurance from the army the Sharif brothers have decided to use the judicial card against the federal government.

The PPP leadership asked the outspoken Babar Awan to state publicly that the Sharifs wanted a ‘government-judiciary clash’ to get the system wrapped up before the Senate election due in March next year.

“Shahbaz Sharif has himself disclosed this plan. Had the Punjab chief minister not spoken about declaring war on the PPP on the court issue, nobody would have known that the PML-N was going to use the judicial card. In fact the PML-N has declared war against the federation and democracy,” he said.

The former law minister said: “The Sharifs should not become guards of independent judiciary as everyone knows who had attacked the Supreme Court and its video is also available. Shahbaz is doing politics on judicial matters,” he said and urged the judiciary to take suo motu notice of the chief minister’s statement.

Mr Awan did not explain the government’s position on implementing some orders of the apex court, like reinstatement of NICL scam investigator Zafar Qureshi and appointment of NAB chairman.

However, he said he thought that “hurdles” were being created in smooth functioning of the government and the PML-N was doing so by using the judicial card.

He said the PPP respected the judiciary and had accepted all its decisions regarding 110 judges, 22 secretaries and two NAB chairmen.

Mr Awan also accused the Sharif brothers of seeking to trigger a clash among provinces. “The Sharifs want a clash of Punjab with other provinces but we will not let it succeed,” he said. He said Nawaz Sharif had recently met retired armymen for implementation of his ‘design’.

Talking to Dawn, a PML-N leader said a “declaration of war” was to be made by Nawaz Sharif in his speech on Wednesday after resuming the charge as the party’s president. A well-known Urdu columnist is reported to have written a strong-worded speech for him. But the situation developing in the apex court proceedings required an immediate response, he said.

Claiming that this time the PML-N leadership would not issue only harsh statements, he said it would go for building a momentum after Ramazan to oust the PPP from power.

He said tendering resignations en bloc from all elected houses would also be part of a strategy chalked out in view of the party’s falling popularity graph and fears that if it did not act “in time” a ‘third force’ might upstage it.

Mr Awan, however, ruled out dissolution of Punjab Assembly by Shahbaz. “After the 18th Amendment a chief minister cannot do so on his own. Legally he is required to consult the governor. By-election will be held for seats that fall vacant in case of resignations,” he said.

He said transfer of the establishment secretary was the prerogative of the prime minister.


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