ISLAMABAD: Minister for Defen­­ce Khawaja Asif on Monday said appointment of Punjab caretaker Chief Minister Syed Mohsin Raza Naqvi has been made in accordance with the Constitution and if the PTI challenged it any court, the coalition government of Pakistan Demo­cratic Movement (PDM) will contest it as per law.

“If they (PTI leaders) challenge it (the appointment of caretaker CM of Punjab) in the court, then there will be a legal battle and it will be contested as per the law by the coalition government,” Mr Asif told a press conference while welcoming the appointment of Mr Naqvi.

He said the appointment of the caretaker chief minister of Punjab could not be challenged in the court as the process had passed all codal formalities starting from the leader of the opposition to the ECP.

“I welcome the decision of Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) regarding appointment of Mohsin Naqvi as the entire process was in accordance with the Constitution,” the defence minister said.

He said PTI Chairman Imran Khan had no moral ground to make efforts for his party’s lawmakers to rejoin the National Assem­bly after tendering resignations of 155 members of National Assembly last year. The defence minister said the PTI did not do its homework well before fiel­ding two of its candidates for the slot.

Mohsin Naqvi’s appointment hailed, termed in accordance with Constitution

“The PTI and others did not do good homework for the post as one of its nominees was a serving government employee and the other was a dual national. Their vetting was not good for these nominees as a result they faced humiliation,” Mr Asif said. He said one of the nominees of Pak­istan Democratic Move­ment (PDM) was a former civil servant and the other was media personality.

On the other hand, the PTI also gave the name of an honourable bureaucrat who excused himself from taking the task. Hence, the PTI’s objection to Mr Naqvi’s appointment was a fake cry.

Referring to allegations of the plea bargain levelled against Mr Naqvi, the defence minister said: “Mr Naqvi’s name was dragged into an issue of NAB’s plea bargain but the fact is that he had taken some loan from an accused in the Haris Steel Mill Case.”

“Mr Naqvi provided a cheque with a letter during the probe and returned the loan to the accused. A few news articles erroneously reported it as a matter of the plea bargain whereas one letter could not be considered as a plea bargain. And, if he has done anything illegal then we will not defend him,” Mr Asif said.

The matter of interim government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) was resolved with consensus, but in Punjab there was no agreement and, therefore, the case landed in the ECP to decide the matter.

Criticising politics of the former prime minister, the defence minister said that Mr Khan was heading gradually towards a complete political failure as all his decisions were now proving wrong and miscalculated.

“Imran Khan used indecent language against the parliament and now they (PTI MNAs) want to return to the same parliament (NA). They (PTI leaders) are demanding justice from the Election Commis­sion of Pakistan (ECP) whom they rebuked indiscriminately,” the defence minister said

Mr Asif said that PTI MNAs were demanding withdrawal of their resigna­tions, whereas they should have led the opposition earlier and avoided confrontation with the parliament.

Mr Khan, the minister said, was a failed project and he wanted to revive himself on the political scene, adding: “I believe that he (Mr Khan) is gradually losing ground in the political arena.” He said that historically Mr Khan had always resig­ned after becoming an MNA.

Published in Dawn, January 24th, 2023

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