LAHORE: National Assembly Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf says that he is not in favour of trying anyone under Article 6 (treason charges).

Talking to the media after opening an office of the Pakistan People’s Party at the outhouse of local PPP leader Asghar Bhatti here on Wednesday, he said he was neither in favour of trying anyone under Article 6 of the Constitution nor would discuss the constitutional provision on any forum.

About the Supreme Court Chief Justice’s suggestion to the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf leadership for returning to the National Assembly, he said he would welcome the PTI MNAs on their return to the house.

He said there’s a constitutional procedure for accepting or rejecting a resignation by a parliamentarian, while the resignations tendered by the PTI MNAs and accepted by then deputy speaker Qasim Suri were declared as unconstitutional by the apex court.

He said that signatures on the resignation papers were not genuine as one of PTI MNAs moved the high court pleading that the resignations had been given only ‘to show loyalty with the leader’.

Mr Ashraf told a questioner that Imran Khan relinquished charge as the prime minister only because allies of the then government had deserted the coalition.

Replying to a question, he said the general elections would be held as per law and constitution because the polls could not be held without the will of any (government).

The NA speaker said his party (PPP) had always been in favour of completing the constitutional term of the assemblies.

Answering a query about the construction of Kalabagh dam to counter floods in future, he said Kalabagh, Bhasha and Manji dams should be built but only after a consensus among the provinces.

Mr Ashraf held the PTI responsible for the current wave of price hike in the country saying the PTI remained active but only on social media during its tenure in power.

He told a questioner that Finance Minister Ishaq Dar is a seasoned politician and has successfully served at the same position a couple of times before. He hoped that like in the past Mr Dar, being an expert economist would prove his worth in the present stint too.

He said that it’s prerogative of the prime minister to appoint a person as a finance minister whosoever he considered as the eligible candidate.

Replying to a question about PPP co-chairperson Asif Ali Zardari’s absence from the political scene for the last couple of weeks, the speaker said the former president was not feeling well presently and would return to the political arena soon after his recovery.

Published in Dawn, September 29th, 2022

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