Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party chief Mehmood Khan Achakzai addressing a press conference on Sunday.—INP
Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party chief Mehmood Khan Achakzai addressing a press conference on Sunday.—INP

QUETTA: Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) chief Mehmood Khan Achakzai has said that those who violate the Constitution should be awarded exemplary punishment.

Addressing a press conference at the Quetta Press Club on Sunday, he said: “The Constitution of Pakistan defines limitations for all the [state] institutions to work within their domains. The same Constitution states that parliament is the centre of power. However, deplorably, our current parliament is a ‘selected’ one.”

In an apparent reference to the government move to provide parliamentary cover to the extension in the army chief’s tenure, Mr Achakzai said: “Those who coined the term ‘selected’ [for the prime minister and parliament] after the last general elections and other parties are now talking of an amendment in the same parliament. But they must remember that history is brutal and it does not like dishonesty.”

The PkMAP leader said it was the obligation of every institution, including the army, to abide by the Constitution as it builds up trust between the state and the citizens of Pakistan.

Says there should be no compromise on democracy

“If this country is run according to the wishes of its people, they will stand by the state of their own free will,” he said, adding: “It is my and my party’s point of view that in every government department, including the army, if someone completes the term, he/she should go.”

Welcoming the verdict in the high treason case against Gen Musharraf, he said the former dictator was behind the killings of Nawab Akbar Bugti, lawyers and the May 12 violence. “He [Musharraf] did not even allow Nawab Bugti’s family members to bury him and offer prayer for his soul at the graveyard,” he added.

“Like Gen Zia, Musharraf had said that he would throw the Cons­titution of Pakistan into the dustbin,” he said.

“Pakistan is dear to us and we and our elders have offered sacrifices for it,” Mr Achakzai said.

“It is time for all of us to mend our ways and put our country on the path to democracy because now we as a country are on the verge of destruction due to misconceived policies and political experiments,” he said.

“If the powers that be want to strengthen Pakistan, then they must trust the 200 million people of the country,” he said, adding that unfortunately “they have done otherwise, which is why Pakistan, instead of strengthening, is becoming weaker by the day”.

“If we want to see the country strengthened, we must not compromise on the question of democracy,” he insisted.

“Pakistan is a volunteer federation formed by Pakhtuns, Punjabis, Sindhis and Baloch. All the ethnic groups live on their own lands, which is why they must be given their due rights,” he said.

In reply to a question about the recent move to amend the Army Act, he said that former prime minister Nawaz Sharif had been nurtured under the shadow of the establishment, but later he had stood up against the powers that be. “Now he is a democratic Punjabi during whose tenure two generals retired on time. This is why, history will forgive him.”

About the Pakistan Peoples Party, he said it was “close to democracy and has veteran and educated politicians in its fold who know more than us. So we can ask them what to do over the amendments in parliament”.

Mr Achakzai reiterated the allegation that the 2018 elections had been rigged and called for snap elections in the country.

Published in Dawn, January 6th, 2020