KL Summit: 'Pakistan wishes to be part of the solution, not the problem,' says Awan

Published December 18, 2019
The government's chief spokesperson Firdous Ashiq Awan addressing a press conference in Islamabad on Wednesday. — DawnNewsTV
The government's chief spokesperson Firdous Ashiq Awan addressing a press conference in Islamabad on Wednesday. — DawnNewsTV

The government's chief spokesperson Firdous Ashiq Awan on Wednesday said that Pakistan wishes to be "part of the solution and not part of the problem" when it comes to ties between Muslim countries.

Awan's remarks came during a media briefing in Islamabad regarding a meeting between the core committee members of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI).

A meeting of the party's core committee had been called by the premier today at 5pm to discuss "the current political situation", according to DawnNewsTV.

Awan said that PM Imran and Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi informed the core committee on the decision to not attend the Kuala Lumpur Summit. "The prime minister and the foreign minister spoke in detail about the backdrop in which the decision was made," she said.

The PM's aide said that Pakistan has strategic interest in the region, especially with regard to the OIC (Organisation of Islamic Cooperation).

"OIC is a platform which 57 countries of the Muslim ummah are a part of and the ummah's unity is the need of the hour," she said.

Awan said that Pakistan wishes to play the role of a country that unites the ummah.

"The premier's vision to bring together the Muslim world means that Pakistan does not wish to align itself with any country's individual interests.

"Pakistan will stand with the overall cause and interests of the Muslim ummah," explained Awan, adding, "It wishes to play a central role for the betterment of the ummah and its solidarity."

Govt stance on Musharraf case

Awan also briefed the media on other discussions held during the meeting, including those on the subject of the verdict issued by the special court a day earlier against former president retired Gen Pervez Musharraf.

"The prime minister told the core committee that the institutions of Pakistan are the pillars of the state and the state's interest will always be supreme at any cost," she said.

"We have to bolster our support to the state's institutions and make them independent and stand by the rule of law.

"So the legal team will inform the committee, the cabinet and the party after reviewing these priorities and we will then present the government's stance on this."

ECP appointments, revival of 'Insaf lawyers wing'

She said that the issue of the pending appointments in the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) — especially that of the chief election commissioner — were also discussed in the meeting.

Awan reminded the audience that the issue has been facing a delay due to a lack of consensus in the parliament.

"The parliamentary committee formed by the prime minister comprising PTI and its government allies has been given the task of getting together with the National Assembly Speaker and deciding on a final course of action," said the PM's aide.

She said that the committee is expected to develop consensus on a candidate and "to fulfil its constitutional and legal responsibility to restore the ECP's functioning".

Awan termed the practice of two parties getting together to decide on the appointment of a regulator as "contrary to the parameters of democracy".

"A regulator is never hand picked or appointed out of choice."

She recommended that the parliament review the criteria of appointment for the future because a regulator must be appointed "on merit, competency, qualifications, and overall with a fair and free mechanism".

"It is important to empower an institution rather than parties or individuals," she stressed.

Awan said that the prime minister instructed the parliamentary committee to figure out the constitutional and legal way forward in this so that "we can rid ourselves" of this current method of ECP appointments.

She said that the Insaf lawyers wing of the party would be reactivated.

She said that the party's secretary-general and chief organiser has been tasked with the responsibility to work with the law ministry to review the areas in which the services of lawyers had not been effectively utilised and to develop a framework in which the government's law officer — who acts as a bridge between the "benches and the bars" — is able to assist in the quick dispensation of cases of public interest.

Maryam's wish to travel abroad

The spokesperson said that the matter of Maryam Nawaz's request to travel abroad to meet her ailing father, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, was also debated upon.

"The request for her name to be removed from the ECL (Exit Control List) sent to the cabinet sub-committee by the court was reviewed.

"The prime minister and the core committee reiterated their resolve to uphold the belief that no one is above the law and there are no holy cows."

She said the government will decide on the matter based on recommendations provided by the sub-committee.

Awan said the government will free the law of the land which is in the iron grip of "wishes and desires". "The government will free this law held hostage by pressures and will further strengthen it for a free and independent legal system."

'India's true face exposed'

The core committee also strongly condemned India's new Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), said the government's spokesperson.

"The premier in the Geneva conference on refugees unmasked India's true face before the world. He exposed India's extremist thinking hidden under the cloak of the state which is aimed at targeting minorities," said Awan.

She said the core committee lauded the premier's efforts on raising his voice on the Kashmir issue.

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