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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Parliamentary Leader in the Senate, Senator Sherry Rehman said that “the entire nation is waiting for the Supreme Court’s verdict as Pakistan’s Constitution hangs in the balance.”

Talking to media outside the apex court, she said that the fate of Pakistan’s democracy, parliament and its Constitution, all hang in the balance. She said that we hope it would not take longer to reverse the “illegal actions of a Speaker and Deputy Speaker who no longer hold the confidence of the House, just like their former Prime Minister.”

“While we wait, the PTI’s desperate and blatant illegality has now engulfed the Punjab Assembly too, where barbed wire surrounds buildings and the Deputy Speaker himself was locked out of the Assembly on the day of voting for the Chief Minister. The pattern is obvious: use any means to move past the irrefutable fact that the regime has lost its support in both the Punjab and National Assemblies of Pakistan. Such a flagrant pummelling of the Constitution, which protects voting and No Confidence procedures in Pakistan’s legislatures should not be condoned in any way”, she said.

“Khan has linked his political survival with weaponising national security charges that he is unable to prove, while his actions in the NA on Sunday show how he is willing to do anything to ensure his survival including the dissolution of the assemblies. No democratically elected government to date had ever committed such unconstitutional actions, so why did the failed PTI regime think it could? Khan is now a security risk for Pakistan considering how he has single handedly pushed the country into dangerous instability and chaos.”

The PPP leader said, “There is no link between the “cable” that was described as “dash dash dash” by one of the former Ministers to justify the extreme unconstitutional act of illegally dissolving the NA while a vote of no confidence was to be voted upon. The Speaker’s action to link an illegal ruling to allegations of “treachery” against 198 members has plunged the country into an unprecedented crisis. We are waiting for the honourable court’s verdict to stabilise the situation.”

She stated, “PTI’s self-serving approach to matters of foreign policy might seem for them a way to save face and to build a new narrative for a defeated party, but ends up harming Pakistan: a nuclear-armed state whose foreign policy cannot afford to be isolationist. The PPP government was able to obtain an apology from the US after the Salala attack through painstaking diplomacy, and moved on to shut down the Shamsi Air Base, suspending NATO’s ground lines of communication while maintaining stable ties with the US. Why could Khan not obtain an apology for this cable if it was such a threat?”

She said, “Using confidential foreign correspondence to further his agenda is going to deter career diplomats from sending cables in the future, which will indelibly harm our already compromised foreign relations. Khan’s attempt to rile up the masses by presenting a classified diplomatic cable in a public rally is deeply regrettable, and conducting foreign policy by weaponising an unproven allegation is bad form. Instead of dissolving the assemblies, Khan should have done the honourable thing and resigned. Did Imran Khan summon the US Diplomats in Islamabad after receiving the letter? If he had asked Washington to review, why have the details not been given? Imran Khan has put Pakistan between two international blocs just to save his skin.”

She further added, “No one is against a just and fair election, however, there is an urgent need for electoral reforms. We are not fighting for our gains, we are fighting against the blatant disregard of the Constitution.”

She concluded by saying “There can’t be two different laws for PTI and the Opposition. Khan can’t expect to be held to a different standard. The Constitution applies equally to every citizen of Pakistan. The issue at hand is the Speaker’s illegal ruling, which we hope the honourable court will reverse. PTI’s attempts to create a false link with a foreign policy conspiracy is beyond spurious, it is malafide and misleading. Security agencies have not found any credible evidence of a foreign conspiracy behind the no-trust motion against Khan, but it is high time the evidence was brought forth as the charges are of serious nature. He could not save his regime even after attacking the Constitution. The shocking part is that he has tried to save his face at the cost of the nation and its international standing.”

PPP leader Qamar Zaman Kaira said that the joint-opposition had wanted to bring electoral reforms by taking all stakeholders into confidence for holding free, fair, and transparent elections in the country. He said that we are here (the SC) for the supremacy of the Parliament and restoration of democracy in the country. “We believe in Apex Court that it will decide on merit. All the attentions have been exposed of the Prime Minister as action is being taken in hurry about dissolution of the National Assembly, name of caretaker prime minister and letter to the Election Commission of Pakistan etc.”

Answering a question, he said, “PTI has plan to rig the forthcoming elections and for this purpose it is taking action in [a] hurry. We do not want only give the right of vote to oversees Pakistanis but we want to give representations of oversees Pakistanis in National Assembly, Senate and provincial assemblies.”

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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