LAHORE: The ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz is considering to quash or suspend the punishment of former prime minister Nawaz Minister under the legal provisions available both with the federal and provincial governments.

Federal Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah Khan told a private TV channel that both the federal and the Punjab government had the powers to quash or suspend the punishment of an accused and offer him a chance to plead his case afresh before a court of law for being ‘wrongly’ sentenced earlier in the case. He said that the provisions might be used to provide relief to the PML-N supremo and others.

He, however, said that Mian Nawaz Sharif, who is in self-exile in London where he had gone on the excuse of medical treatment in November 2019, would take a decision about his homecoming on the basis of his health.

The minister also hinted at amending the constitution and relevant laws, whatsoever, for empowering the presiding officer to administer oath to the prime minister or chief minister, whichever the case may be, soon after his/her election instead of leaving the task to the president or governor, in case of the chief minister.

The need for the step, he said, was felt in the Punjab crisis in which the oath-taking ceremony of Hamza Shehbaz was delayed for weeks despite Lahore High Court orders on one excuse or the other by the governor.

In future, the presiding officer conducting the election of the prime minister or the chief minister would be empowered to administer the oath of office to the winner in the contest, he said.

Responding to another query about wrapping up the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), he said that it would be a politically damaging step. However, the incumbent chairman of NAB would have to go as there was no provision of giving him an extension in service or re-appointing him.

Published in Dawn, May 2nd, 2022

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