Bilawal rejects govt explanation over Jadhav-specific law

Updated 26 Jul 2020

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Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari arrives for the press conference. — White Star
Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari arrives for the press conference. — White Star

ISLAMABAD: Rejecting the explanation offered by Law Minister Farogh Naseem in the National Assembly over the Kulbhushan Jadhav-specific ordinance, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari on Saturday challenged the government to get the law passed without the support and cooperation of the opposition.

Speaking at a news conference at the second anniversary of the July 25, 2018 general elections that brought the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) to power, the PPP chairman said after seeing the two-year performance of the government, the people of all the provinces of Pakistan were now on one page that the “selected prime minister must go”.

Mr Bhutto-Zardari alleged that Prime Minister Imran Khan had offered “NRO” (National Reconci­liation Ordinance) to every kind of thief from sugar to wheat and from oil to Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav.

“The person who was supposed to become our ambassador for Kashmir has become a lawyer of Kulbhushan Jadhav,” the PPP chairman stated.

Law Minister Farogh Naseem while speaking in the National Assembly on Friday defended the promulgation of the ICJ Review and Reconsideration Ordinance 2020 and stated that the ordinance was needed to follow the ICJ verdict as well as demolish India’s plan to move the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) against Pakistan.

Challenges govt to get it passed without opposition’s support

Earlier on Thursday, the opposition had forcefully opposed the government’s move to lay the ordinance, terming it “intolerable, unacceptable and against the national prestige” and equated it with the “NRO” which was issued by former military dictator Gen Pervez Musharraf as part of a deal with the PPP in 2007 to end cases against politicians.

The law minister, however, denied that the ordinance was similar to the NRO as it had not pardoned Kulbhushan’s sentence.

Responding to an allegation that the government did not inform the opposition or parliament before promulgating the ordinance, the law minister had said there was no such provision in the Constitution.

Mr Bhutto-Zardari at his news conference called Law Minister Farogh Naseem as “today’s Sharifuddin Pirzada”, a lawyer who was known to have pleaded the cases of military dictators in the past.

“Our new Sharifuddin Pirzada says that he is working according to International Court of Justice (ICJ) so why the government issued the ordinance secretly? Why the government is approaching the Islamabad High Court in support of Kulbhushan Jadhav?” he asked.

Ridiculing the law minister’s statement that the government did not need to talk to the opposition before issuing any ordinance, Mr Bhutto-Zardari challenged the government to get the bill passed without the support of the opposition.

According to the constitution, the PPP chairman said any ordinance should be brought to parliament as soon as possible. However, he regretted that the government did not lay the ordinance before National Assembly or the Senate despite the fact that the two houses had remained in session throughout the month of June after promulgation of the ordinance on May 22.

Mr Bhutto-Zardari termed it a violation of the constitution as well as the Supreme Court’s ruling which stated that no person-specific legislation could be done.

Mr Bhutto-Zardari recalled that in the past, the apex court had nullified a law that had been passed by the parliament, terming it person-specific. He said the name of Kulbhushan Jadhav was mentioned in this ordinance which made it person-specific.

The PPP chairman alleged that the government wanted to provide relief to Jadhav and India through this secret ordinance as they could take benefit of it within 60 days. However, he said, neither the Indian government nor Jadhav took any benefit from this. He said the PPP had never compromised on national interests, human rights and international laws. This government, he said, did not contact the opposition because “this is an apolitical and puppet government.”

Election anniversary

On the completion of two years of the July 2018 elections, Mr Bhutto-Zardari said had there been no Covid-19 pandemic in the country, all the parties would have been on roads today.

Terming it a black day in the history, the PPP chairman said they all remembered how this “selection” was made. He said the whole nation had to wait for the results for three days. He declared that even these results had no “legal standings”.

Mr Bhutto-Zardari stated that Imran Khan had been brought to power on the slogan of corruption-free Pakistan and he was to end the corruption in 90 days. “Ask Transparency International which is saying that corruption in the PTI government is unprecedented and this is the most corrupt government in this history of Pakistan,” he said.

Moreover, the PPP chairman said Imran Khan had declared that he would not give NRO to anyone but he introduced the biggest amnesty for corrupt people.

There is corruption in every project like BRT, Malam Jabba, and Billion Tree Tsunami. There is a clear case against the ministers and advisers who had declared their assets recently and a case of assets beyond means could easily be initiated against them. He said the government turned every crisis into a catastrophe and it had not fulfilled a single promise made in its manifesto.

Published in Dawn, July 26th, 2020