ISLAMABAD: Former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Tuesday said that a “truth commission” should be constituted to determine the facts behind banned Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan’s (TLP) 2017 sit-in in Faizabad.

Talking to media after attending the proceedings in an accountability court in connection with LNG terminal reference, Mr Abbasi asked Prime Minister Imran Khan to explain who had given undertaking to expel the French ambassador? Why the government, instead of fulfilling its commitment, had banned TLP? And once the TLP had been banned then why the government engaged them for negotiations?

The senior PML-N leader said what happened in Lahore was unfortunate. He expressed surprise over sudden summoning of the National Assembly session and said the prime minister should address the assembly on this issue instead of delivering a televised speech.

Mr Abbasi criticised the prime minister for not talking about those who had perished in clashes. He said there was no second opinion on the issue of blasphemy in the entire Muslim world but wondered why Pakistan experienced the chaos. He said it was an irony that containers had been placed at every nook and cranny in the federal capital.

Ahsan Iqbal asks why PM was silent when ministers inked deal with TLP for expulsion of French ambassador

He recalled that the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz had taken a principled stance on the November 2017 TLP sit-in, adding that the facts behind that protest were bitter. He said a “truth commission” should be constituted to ascertain these facts.

Earlier, PML-N leader Ahsan Iqbal, after appearing before the accountability court in connection with Narowal Sports Complex reference, asked why the prime minister was silent when the ministers had signed a deal with the TLP for expulsion of the French ambassador.

He recalled the 2017 TLP sit-in in Faizabad and said that unlike Imran Khan, the PML-N did not add fuel to fire in the present hostile situation. He criticised the prime minister for prioritising the peripheral issues instead of taking the country ahead.

Mr Iqbal said the newly inducted finance minister himself stated that the government polices had played havoc with the economy. He held the incumbent government responsible for the crisis.

Talking about PM Khan’s caution that India is dragging Pakistan towards civil war, the PML-N leader urged the government to raise this issue with the Indian government in Dubai dialogue.

During the proceedings in LNG terminal case, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi informed the accountability court that his lead counsel Barrister Zaffarullah Khan had tested positive for Covid-19 and requested the court to defer the recording of statement of witness Allah Nawaz of the finance ministry till his counsel’s recovery.

The court adjourned the hearing till Wednesday (today).

The hearing of Narowal Sports Complex case was also adjourned till April 27 as the counsel for Ahsan Iqbal and others were not available.

Published in Dawn, April 21st, 2021

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