Policemen block the entrance of Governor House with the help of barriers on Tuesday.—Arif Ali / White Star
Policemen block the entrance of Governor House with the help of barriers on Tuesday.—Arif Ali / White Star

• President Alvi calls for judicial commission to probe Lettergate
• Imran urges SC to take notice of ‘blatant violation’ of Constitution, law in Punjab

ISLAMABAD: Both President Dr Arif Alvi and former premier Imran Khan sought Supreme Court’s help on Tuesday, with the former calling for a thorough investigation to be carried out by an “empowered judicial commission” into the alleged regime change conspiracy while Mr Khan urged the apex court to take notice of what he described as a “blatant violation” of the Constitution and law in Punjab over governor’s removal.

President Alvi was responding to an April 30 letter written by Mr Khan to the president and Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial requesting a public inquiry and the formation of a judicial commission to investigate a “threat letter” which the PTI chief claimed was evidence of the “conspiracy” behind a no-confidence resolution that saw him voted out of office.

“As it is very important that a full investigation must be done, I am sending your letter to the prime minister as well as to the chief justice, with a request that the latter may establish an empowered judicial commission to conduct open hearings for this purpose,” the president replied to Mr Khan through a letter, adding that: “The people of Pakistan deserve clarity.”

President Alvi wrote he had read the copy of the cypher sent by the then ambassador of Pakistan to the United States, containing an official summary of a meeting held at the Pakistan embassy with US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Affairs Donald Lu, another US official and other diplomats of the Pakistan mission.

He reiterated the PTI’s claim that the report in the cypher included some statements made by Mr Lu in quotes that specifically mentioned a “no-confidence motion” against the former prime minister and “forgiveness” if it succeeded but dire consequences if the motion failed.

President Alvi also referred to the two meetings of the National Security Committee that had endorsed that Mr Lu’s statements amounted to unacceptable and blatant interference in Pakistan’s internal affairs and the government of Pakistan had rightly issued a demarche.

He believed that threats could both be covert and overt, and in this particular case, it was clearly communicated in undiplomatic language. “Former prime minister raised serious issues of possible covert reactions and ramifications of the threat,” he added.

President Alvi said that sometimes top-secret archives that were declassified after decades, revelations by informed people or documents that had emerged in “leaks” did provide a “smoking gun” kind of link to events and conspiracies on the world stage.

He regretted that these revelations came to the surface much later, after the destinies of those countries had been significantly damaged by such illegal interventions.

‘Blatant violation’ of Constitution

Meanwhile, PTI Chairman Imran Khan on Tuesday urged the Supreme Court to take notice of what he described as a “blatant violation” of the Constitution and law in Punjab after a late-night federal government notification saw Omar Sarfraz Cheema removed as the province’s governor.

In a statement, Mr Khan demanded the top court take “immediate notice of the blatant violation of the Constitution and the law in Punjab”.

His statement comes after the federal government issued the notification in the early hours of Tuesday, on the heels of a “strong rejection” of a summary by President Arif Alvi calling for Mr Cheema’s removal from the governor’s office.

“Imported puppets are stirring up constitutional anarchy and chaos in Punjab,” Mr Khan said. “First, a criminal puppet was imposed on the province as a chief minister through a ghost election. Now, keeping all constitutional requirements aside, the office of the president has been insulted.”

He condemned what he termed as an embarrassing attempt to remove the Punjab governor because of his insistence on protecting the Constitution.

The former premier said that the “blatant violation” of the Constitution in Punjab was being watched in silence, therefore, the Supreme Court must take suo motu notice of the situation, given its sensitivity.

Published in Dawn, May 11th, 2022

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