Ahsan proposes national dialogue on establishment’s ‘interference in politics’


PML-N secretary general Ahsan Iqbal speaks to party workers in Qasimabad on Tuesday. — PPI
PML-N secretary general Ahsan Iqbal speaks to party workers in Qasimabad on Tuesday. — PPI

HYDERABAD: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz Secretary General Ahsan Iqbal has said that party supremo Nawaz Sharif has made it clear that interference of establishment in national politics was a bitter chapter of our history and this chapter must be closed for all times to come.

Talking to journalists at the residence of PML-N divisional president Anwar Soomro in Qasimabad after offering condolences to him on the death of his brother, Ahsan Iqbal said that he personally believed that the only solution to end the present crisis was a national dialogue for which Senate, which represented the federation, could take a lead.

“We need national dialogue. All stakeholders must analyse where they erred in the past and how they can run the country under the Constitution, Every institution should now work within its limits set by the Constitution to make the country progress and achieve the lost economic progress. We need 6pc to 8pc growth to create 2m jobs which can’t be done if the growth of economy remains around 1pc-0pc. It will now lead to civil war,” Mr Iqbal cautioned.

Wants Senate to lead talks to end ‘crisis’

The PML-N leader said that Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) was struggling to ensure supremacy of the Constitution.

He said the PTI government had failed to control the law and order situation as monster of terrorism was raising its ugly head again. He asserted that the PML-N government had eliminated terrorism when it was in power.

He referred to different incidents of terrorism which recently took place in quick succession in the country, adding that 20 soldiers were martyred in two incidents – six in Waziristan and 14 in Gwadar.

“Such incidents are now taking place in the country because the PTI government has asked the entire interior ministry to focus on political witch-hunt by instituting false cases against leaders of opposition parties. Intelligence bureau and other security agencies responsible for eliminating terrorism have now been tasked with vote rigging and engineering in Gilgit-Baltistan elections,” he said.

He said the prime minister was now creating chaos and anarchy in the country as the interior ministry had now disappeared and it had now become a tool of NAB.

“The interior ministry’s only purpose now is the persecution of leaders of opposition political parties. When internal security institutions keep chasing only opponents of the government, terrorists are bound to get a free ride,” Mr Iqbal said.

He said that the PTI government had reversed all economic successes achieved by the PML-N government and it had also reversed the CPEC which had become the country’s identity.

The PML-N leader said that opposition wanted to strengthen the democracy in the country instead of derailing it, but the prime minister had decided to create conditions for derailing of the democratic process and imposition of martial law in the country.

“The forces and lobbies opposed to Pakistan want the country to be pushed towards martial law to see a confrontation between the people and national institutions,” Mr Iqbal said.

He said that he believed the military leadership was aware of these challenges and it could not impose martial law in the country now because it knew very well that martial laws had weakened the country’s foundation.

The PML-N leader said that Mr Nawaz Sharif was not opposed to institutions, but he had identified the establishment’s interference in politics which was a bitter chapter of the country’s history.

“This chapter should now be closed as the survival and progress of the country and its national institutions lay in it,” he said.

Mr Iqbal said it indeed augured well that the opposition, under the flag of PDM, was demanding supremacy of the Constitution and it was determined to oust the PTI government and replace it with a genuine representative government through transparent polls in the country. “Today the media has been gagged and Mir Shakilur Rehman has been in jail for the last 225 days. TV channels giving coverage to Opposition’s public rallies and other activities are getting banned and Pemra’s censorship is causing unemployment in the media,” he said.

He condemned the PTI government’s attempt to occupy islands in Sindh and pledged to defend the 18th Amendment through the PDM’s platform. He said the PDM would welcome all those political groups, including nationalist parties, that were committed to federalist and parliamentary democracy and supremacy in the country.

He said the PTI government was dubbing the entire opposition as Indian agent on a daily basis and the Indian prime minister must be very happy that he did not now need to do anything against Pakistan as half of the population of Pakistan was now its agent.

He said it was a treachery with Pakistan “when you declare patriotic political parties as agents of some other country. It means you yourself are weakening the country”. He said “all of us are Pakistan’s soldiers and the PML-N doesn’t need a certificate of patriotism from anyone”.

He said those who were accusing the opposition of corruption must explain why flour, which used to be sold for Rs34 for 71 years, was now being sold at Rs80 in two years or why the sugar’s rate rose from Rs52-Rs54 to Rs115-Rs120.

He recalled that Mr Khan used to say in the past that a premier was a thief if there was price hike in the country and today’s price hike had broken the record of 72 years which meant that the PM’s corruption had broken all records.

“Who gave the NRO to Jehangir Khan Tareen and facilitated him in the middle of the night,?” he asked. “Who is protecting atta, sugar and medicine mafias? Who gave billions of rupees to oil mafia? Who is hiding behind the stay order in the BRT case and why the Malamjabba reference is not heard?” he asked.

Published in Dawn, October 28th, 2020