LAHORE: The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) is on a warpath against the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government to avenge Nawaz Sharif’s disqualification on Imran Khan’s petition, Naeemul Haque, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister, said on Sunday.
Claiming that the PML-N leadership is violating its ‘agreements’ with the National Assembly Speaker, Mr Haque asserted that Leader of the Opposition Shahbaz Sharif’s production order from now on would be issued only when he would sign a code of ethics to run the house in an amicable manner and do legislation in the best interests of the nation.
The special assistant to the prime minister was speaking to media alongside PML-Q president Chaudhry Shujaat Husain after a meeting at the latter’s residence against the backdrop of reports that PTI-PML-Q relations were facing some cracks.
“No one likes to see Shahbaz Sharif coming to the National Assembly and abusing the government or some individuals,” he said.
Asking the media whether legislation will come to a halt if Shahbaz Sharif does not come to the National Assembly, Mr Haque asserted that the legislation process would go on. “The PTI government wants that the opposition parties behave in the National Assembly in a proper manner during its five-year tenure,” he said, regretting that the opposition was not only allowing leaders to speak uninterrupted but also launching personal attacks.
He said Prime Minister Imran Khan wanted to create a friendly environment in the assembly and had shaken hands with Shahbaz Sharif, Asif Zardari and Bilawal Bhutto, but the opposition did not allow him to make his inaugural speech.
Only five days ago, he recalled, the PML-N leadership had met the NA speaker and promised that it would not interrupt the prime minister, opposition leader and Bilawal Bhutto’s speeches but would not guarantee interruption in any other member’s speech in the house. “The PML-N’s only political objective is to create hurdles and try that the PTI government does not succeed,” he said.
In reply to a question, Mr Haque said the ruling party had yet not discussed any plan to bring a no-confidence move for the removal of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chairman.
Rejecting as ‘blackmail’, he said Shahbaz Sharif was made the PAC chairman to keep the assembly business going. He said 38 parliamentary committees were constituted and 18 committees’ chairmanship was given to the opposition parties.
After accepting all these demands, he added, the prime minister had asked the speaker to constitute an ethics committee to ensure no personal attacks were made in the National Assembly. The committee was constituted but all in vain, he said, adding that the opposition members booed Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi during his speech and chanted slogans against Finance Minister Asad Umer.
In reply to another question, the special assistant said the government believed that the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) needed to improve its performance as it was failing to meet the decision deadline of 30 days. “The NAB chief, who himself is a former judge of the Supreme Court, is not paying heed to the delay in dispensation of justice,” Mr Haque regretted.
“Years of trial simply mean justice is not being dispensed with.”
He said the government was receiving complaints from the business community of Karachi against undue harassment by NAB even over petty matters. “The PTI government is ready to cooperate with the opposition with an aim to improve the NAB working,” he said, adding that the government wanted to review all civil procedure and criminal procedure codes to make lives easier. “The government cannot tolerate that state institutions, including police, harass people,” he asserted.
About the arrest of senior minister Aleem Khan, he said NAB arrested him after he could not give money trail of the property he purchased before 2004.
The prime minister’s special assistant dispelled ‘rumours’ about any rift between the PTI and PML-Q. He said Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi was playing his role as the Punjab Assembly speaker. “If there are two different points of view on a certain issue, it does not mean the coalition is weakening,” he said.
Mr Haque said the PML-Q had two slots in the Punjab cabinet and would get more ministries when the federal cabinet would be expanded.
“Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi and Moonis Elahi had recently met Prime Minister Imran Khan and stressed the need for strengthening the bond between the two parties.”
Speaking on the occasion, PML-Q president Chaudhry Shujaat Husain said those spreading rumours wanted to sabotage the coalition between the PTI and PML-Q. “We have pledged to work in concert as it is the need of the hour,” he said.
Published in Dawn, February 11th, 2019