Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Friday refused to back down from his concerns regarding the recent election of Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani, reiterating allegations of horse-trading against his party's rivals during the election, and defended an unexpected meeting with the chief justice earlier this week.
PM Abbasi's statement comes a day after Balochistan Chief Minister Mir Abdul Quddus Bizenjo threatened to march towards Islamabad if the premier did not retract his earlier statement regarding Sanjrani. The PM had at recent public gatherings expressed his concerns over the election of the Senate chairman and said there was a need to elect a consensus chairman of the upper house of parliament, as it reflected the federation.
The PM, at public gathering in Sargodha today, said: "Those who became Senate chairman by buying elections will not be accepted by the Pakistani public. This politics of money and political wheeling and dealing needs to end once and for all."
PM Abbasi reminded Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chief Imran Khan — whose party voted for Sanjrani in Senate chairman election — how he himself used to rue former president and PPP Co-Chairman Asif Zardari's horse-trading.
"Imran khan has a big problem but he has forgotten how he used to say in press conferences how Zardari bought 14 of his MPAs," the PM said.
"We want to end this type of politics because it's not in the country’s best interests. We want to bury this type of politics so no matter who has a problem with it, you will have to deal with it."
PM Abbasi claimed that the ruling PML-N was the only party that didn’t spend a single penny during the Senate election, adding: "And then there were those whose parties had no existence but were still elected. This happens with only money. I ask Zardari to come say that he didn’t buy Senate elections.
The prime minister also defended his recent meeting with Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar. "Some have a problem that I met the chief justice. It’s my meeting, why are you bothered?" he asked. "I am the prime minister and if there are problems then it's my responsibility to handle them."
"When the mission is to take the country forward then dialogue is the way to go. That is how countries progress," he asserted.
The PM said there is nothing wrong with communication between different pillars of the state, adding: "Someone said the meeting was fine but the timing was wrong. What’s the logic behind that? First they used to complain that departments don’t communicate."
He also appeared to quash speculation that the purpose of meeting with the CJP was to work out a deal for his ousted predecessor Nawaz Sharif. "We talked about the country, not personal things," the PM said. "I went as a faryadi on this country’s behalf."
PM Abbasi also defended Sharif, and rubbished the allegations against him. "We don’t expect any justice from the accountability court."
"I say this again that the accusations against Nawaz Sharif are completely baseless."
"When we go to the courts there is no evidence, no witnesses and no allegations of corruption. But when the court order came, Mian Nawaz Sharif didn’t even wait for the ink to dry; he implemented the order and left the office."
"Not so long ago the same courts had turned Nawaz Sharif into a hijacker. Today there is just an Iqama paper... still he was disqualified. Such decisions cause losses to the country," he said.