Only a lawfully elected PM can appoint ISI chief: Maryam

Published October 14, 2021
ISLAMABAD: PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz talking to reporters outside the Islamabad High Court on Wednesday.
— Tanveer Shahzad / White Star
ISLAMABAD: PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz talking to reporters outside the Islamabad High Court on Wednesday. — Tanveer Shahzad / White Star

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Maryam Nawaz has termed Prime Minister Imran Khan’s resentment towards the appointment of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) director general by the army chief as uncalled for, saying only a “lawfully elected prime minister” can make top appointments to national security organisations.

“He is a selected prime minister as he has stolen public mandate. He has no legal and moral authority to make top appointment to the national security organisations,” said Ms Nawaz while talking to the media after attending the proceeding of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Wednesday.

She criticised PM Khan over his insistence to retain Lt Gen Faiz Hameed as ISI director general who, she alleged, had been involved in political engineering at the behest of Mr Khan.

Ms Nawaz said Mr Khan’s act to exert authority had nothing to do with the principle of democracy and civil supremacy but he was struggling to prolong his rule.

Gill rejects personal attacks made by PML-N leader

“He is trying to follow in footstep of Nawaz Sharif but he has forgotten that Mr Sharif has rendered numerous sacrifices for giving respect to vote,” Ms Nawaz said.

In a sarcastic note, she said Mr Khan took decisions under the influence of “spirits” adding that “he does this for making top appointments and not for giving relief to the public at large”.

PTI’s reaction

Later, Special Assistant to the PM on Political Communication Dr Shahbaz Gill reprimanded Ms Nawaz for her targeting political opponents and termed her negative narrative as a regrettable act.

Addressing a joint presser with Minister of State for Climate Change Zartaj Gul, he said the Sharif family had a historic precedent of ridiculing their opponents through personal attacks as was done with former prime minister Benazir Bhutto as they threw her “objectionable photographs” by air.

Mr Gill said Ms Nawaz was an ominous woman whose evil intentions had left no one secure, including her father, uncle and party leadership.

He said the PML-N leadership also levelled fake allegations against Jemima Goldsmith.

Zartaj Gul also lashed out at Ms Nawaz and called her a “discredited woman maligning state institutions”, adds APP.

The minister of state said Ms Nawaz had no political standing and status as she could not contest election even of a councilor’s seat, and was targeting Prime Minister Khan for raising her stature.

“Maryam Nawaz has questioned the prime minister’s credibility when she possesses no credibility of her own. Imran Khan has received over 17 million votes and is an elected representative of 220m people,” she said.

Court proceedings

Earlier, an IHC division bench comprising Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani, after hearing arguments of Ms Nawaz’s counsel Irfan Qadir, asked the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to produce evidence to substantiate charges against the PML-N leader and retired Captain Mohammad Safdar.

During the hearing of an appeal filed by Ms Nawaz against her conviction in the Avenfield properties case, Mr Qadir refrained from arguing against the outgoing spymaster but told the court that he might argue to establish that the conviction of Ms Nawaz in the Avenfield reference was part of political engineering.

Mr Qadir argued that the “no evidence” existed in the case but the accountability judge convicted Nawaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz and Mr Safdar as they could not convince the court that the properties did not belong to them.

Justice Farooq remarked that the recent litigation transpired that NAB had started arresting all and sundry.

Mr Qadir concentrated his arguments on acquittal of Ms Nawaz under Section 561 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) that empowers the high court to issue any order in the interest of justice. He said since no evidence existed in the case, to save the precious court time he had filed the application for his client’s acquittal under the said section of the CrPC for swift disposal of the appeal.

He pointed out what he called a number of “lacunas” in preparing, filing and pursuing the case by NAB.

He argued that the apex court was not properly assisted in this case and, as a result, it directed NAB to file three references against the Sharif family.

The lawyer argued that NAB had no evidence to prove that the Avenfield Apartments were owned by Mr Sharif or were registered in his name in the land record.

Mr Qadir further argued that the evidence against Ms Nawaz was a trust deed prepared in Calibri font which, according to NAB, was forged since at that time the font did not exist.

The court directed NAB to produce all record related to the properties. It noted that the trust deed exhibited before the trial court was not original but a copy of the original document. The bench also asked NAB to explain the consequences of not exhibiting the original court before the trial court.

Further hearing in this matter was adjourned till November 17.

Published in Dawn, October 14th, 2021

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