LAHORE: In contrast to the ringing of alarm bells by former army chief Gen Aslam Beg, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz does not see any threat to the system in the statements of COAS Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry.
“The central point in both the speeches by the chief justice and the army chief is to ensure predominance of Constitution and law, which is a matter of great satisfaction and symbolically reflects hope for a new emerging Pakistan,” PML-N president Nawaz Sharif said in a statement on Wednesday.
“The army, under the leadership of its present head, has desisted from any kind of adventurism and in his fresh statement he has also talked about following the rule of law and Constitution,” he said, adding the new judiciary had given some historic decisions without fear.
Admitting that everyone, including politicians, judges and generals, had committed mistakes in the past, Nawaz Sharif said it was a highly welcome sign that individuals as well as institutions were acknowledging their mistakes.
Gen (retd) Aslam Beg said in a couple of television interviews on Wednesday that Gen Kayani’s statement was a message to parliament that it should act before the democratic set-up was wrapped up. On the other hand, eminent lawyers like Aitzaz Ahsan have criticised the statements of both the chiefs, saying they had transgressed constitutional limits by giving ‘political statements’.
Apparently fearing that the way the media had projected both the statements could lead to a clash between the two institutions, Mr Sharif urged the media to play its role in bringing the two institutions together for strengthening democratic process and safeguarding national interests “so that democratic journey in Pakistan continues, all decisions are taken by the people, while all institutions continue to discharge their duties by strictly remaining within the limits of Constitution and law”.
“For the purpose of progress and prosperity of the country, strengthening democracy, stabilising institutions and welfare of the masses, it is highly essential that there is a complete harmony between all institutions and pillars of the state,” he said.
The former prime minister stressed that the objective could only be achieved if supremacy of Constitution and rule of law were ensured and national interest was kept uppermost.
Saying that the army was a symbol of Pakistan’s solidarity and defence, and that every patriotic citizen wanted to see the institution united and strong, Nawaz Sharif, whose government was ousted by Gen Pervez Musharraf in 1999, cautioned that any action to create a division within the army was against national interest.
Mr Sharif praised the judiciary as well, emphasising interpretation of the Constitution was the judiciary’s prerogative.
“Awarding punishment to any person regardless of his position, name or status is the constitutional responsibility of judiciary. Weakening of this institution is like turning the country into a lawless jungle, whereas weakening army is tantamount to weakening national defence.”