PML-N leaders push back against Aitzaz Ahsan’s remarks on Sharifs’ acquittals

Published October 14, 2022
<p>Federal ministers address an important press conference in Islamabad on Friday. — DawnNewsTV</p>

Federal ministers address an important press conference in Islamabad on Friday. — DawnNewsTV

Defence Minister Khawaja Asif, along with other federal ministers, on Friday pushed back against PPP leader Aitzaz Ahsan’s recent remarks on the acquittals of the Sharif family, describing the senior lawyer as a “betrayer”.

In a media talk earlier this week, the senior PPP leader alleged that the “establishment” helped the Sharif family get clear of the cases of corruption against them.

“Bajwa sahab has rescued them (Sharif family) from conviction in cases and he has committed a big crime,” he had said.

He had further claimed the cases against Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz Sharif were open-and-shut and their conviction was evident.

Flanked by Information minister Marriyum Aurangzeb, Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal, Minister of State for Petroleum Musadik Malik, and Adviser to the PM Atta Tarar in a press conference in Islamabad today, Asif — without naming the PPP leader — said his comments were coming out of “personal frustration”.

“Someone claimed that a phone call was made and then the verdict was passed. It was said by a popular PPP leader […] I am not sure if he is still one or not […] so I will call him a law expert because he was my teacher.

“He was the first man who freed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. He got elected in a rigged election during Ziaul Haq’s tenure. He has been a traitor since then,” the minister said.

Asif asserted that in the last few years, the PML-N had proved with its actions and stance that it did not want to violate the judicial system.

“From Nawaz appearing before JIT (joint investigation team) to PM Shehbaz turning up at courts, this all happened and the courts delivered verdicts that served justice.

“Unlike Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, where accountability offices were closed and the billion tree tsunami case was neglected, we went through all the processes, we were jailed, and then got bail,” he said, adding that despite this, the PML-N had protected the courts’ prestige and repeatedly demonstrated respect.

“And I hope everyone in office continues to do the same. We emerged victorious. This is personal frustration if someone is claiming that ‘xyz’ made a telephone call to get verdicts of desire.”

In response to a question on whether Ahsan would be charged under Article 6 (high treason) of the Constitution, the minister said: “A man whose political value isn’t even equal to a cent […] there is no good in making him politically relevant by force.”

The PPP leader’s purpose, Asif claimed, was to seek attention. “This is his status and this is his credibility.” However, the minister added that the government will “definitely” retaliate and take action against him under the law and the Constitution.

The minister also said that he was quite aware of PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari’s opinion about Aitzaz Ahsan.

‘No chance of early elections’

Meanwhile, in his reply to another question, Asif said that fresh elections would be held on time.

“Even for early elections, a decision will only be taken by the Shehbaz-led government and the PDM (Pakistan Democratic Movement) coalition,” he said, emphasising that no decision will be taken on dictation.

“We have discretion […] the Constitution allows that elections can be held early. But there is no chance of it.”

Backing Asif’s stance, Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal said that two of Pakistan’s provinces — Sindh and Balochistan — were facing a disastrous situation due to the floods.

“There is no point in holding general elections in those areas in the next six to eight months because we have challenges to restore normalcy there. Also, if someone calls for elections in those areas, the people will pelt them with stones,” he added.

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