‘Fear’ the fallout of PM Shehbaz’s disqualification: Raja Pervaiz Ashraf

Published May 3, 2023
National Assembly Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf speaks in an interview on Wednesday. — DawnNewsTV
National Assembly Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf speaks in an interview on Wednesday. — DawnNewsTV

National Assembly Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf on Wednesday said that the consequences of the possible disqualification of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif should be “feared”.

“Fear the time [when such a situation comes to pass]. I am saying this as a political worker to let go of emotions, anger, stubbornness and ego. No one knows what will happen then,” he said, adding, “What will become of the country […] in this chaos?”

The NA speaker expressed these views during an interview on Dawn News show ‘Live with Adil Shahzeb’ when asked whether the government could send the chief justice of Pakistan packing if the premier was disqualified.

His remarks come against the backdrop of a stand-off between the government and the higher judiciary on elections in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the Supreme Court’s pre-emptive order to render a bill curtailing the powers of the chief justice of Pakistan as ineffective even once it becomes law. The bill became an act of Parliament on April 21 after it was deemed to have been assented by the president under clause (2) of Article 75 of the Constitution, a statement issued by the National Assembly Secretariat said.

Given the situation, Ashraf was asked whether the imposition of martial law was a possibility, to which he replied, “Anything can happen.

“I believe that the country is being taken to a point where even martial would be of no effect […],” he said.

He added there was a “fight of egos and stubbornness” going on in the country, which was facing chaos, confusion, uncertainty and division. These factors, Ashraf continued, led to destruction wherever they were present.

The NA speaker termed the stand-off between the Parliament and SC “unfortunate”, saying that it had had a deep impact on Parliament, as well as politics.

Regarding the apex court seeking the record of the National Assembly proceedings from when the bill aimed at clipping the chief justice’s powers was deliberated upon and passed by the house, Ashraf said the issuance of the directive to Parliament implied that it “is no longer supreme”.

He said by pre-emptively preventing the enforcement of the bill clipping the CJP’s power, the court was “directly intervening in Parliament’s affairs”.

The NA speaker further remarked that Parliament had remained a “target of the establishment or the Supreme Court”.

“The judiciary endorsed the establishment’s actions and protected its unconstitutional measures in the past.”

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