The government on Monday rejected Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan’s demand for the inclusion of Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI) and Military Intelligence (MI) personnel in the judicial commission to be set up to investigate the vote rigging allegations.
“We have written to Supreme Court to constitute a three-member judicial commission comprising sitting judges as earlier demanded by PTI but there is no provision in the law to include officials of the ISI and MI in the judicial commission,” said Finance Minister Ishaq Dar along with Information Minister Pervez Rashid and Minister for Science and Technology Zahid Hamid at a news conference.
“There is no law of the jungle, nor is there any kingdom in Pakistan to do anything and everything that we want to do…We cannot take any step in violation of Constitution,” Dar said, adding that the government would make an announcement as soon as the apex court constitutes a judicial commission in light of the letter that has been sent through secretary law. About negotiations with PTI, he said the government had not stalled the dialogue process to resolve the issue, adding that the process was called off by Imran Khan unilaterally and the government was still open to talks. He said two days back he had received a message from a senior PTI leader that they wanted to hold talks. “But I was surprised by Imran’s demand to include officials of ISI and MI in the judicial commission, which they may want to discuss with our team,” he said, adding that a joint investigation team (JIT), not a Judicial Commission, could comprise officials of intelligence agencies.
Dar maintained that the government had entertained a 14-page ‘charter of demands’ forwarded by PTI during negotiations with the government team and negotiations were on-going on the electoral reforms. He said the parliamentary committee on election reforms, which held 10 meetings, has formulated 1,283 proposals. He said PTI members in the committee were asked to rejoin the proceedings of the parliamentary body, adding that the government had been working on election reforms with an open mind. Dar further said the government was keen to resolve issues related to elections and any other particular demand of the PTI within the ambit of law. The Finance Minister maintained that the PTI’s sit-in had badly impacted the country’s economy, adding that the protests had marred the confidence of foreign investor and donor agencies.
“But still the government is committed to ensuring economic stability,” he said, adding that foreign reserves will be brought at the level of $15 billion till December 31. He said that the confidence of the foreign investors and donor agencies is being restored and economy is on a better track while stock market is again witnessing a bullish trend.
He further said that economy would further improve with the approval of an IMF tranche by its executive board. In response to a question, Dar said that efforts were under way to evolve consensus on appointment of Chief Election Commissioner. “But we’ve to do away with the tradition of saying I like Mr ‘A’ and not Mr ‘B’, he said while referring to Imran Khan’s remarks about Justice Tassaduq Jillani. “We should respect all the institutions; and we ought to be more careful towards judiciary. It’s very unfortunate to say that judiciary is independent but not impartial,” he said in response to Imran’s comments.
To another question, Dar said if the judicial commission established that PML-N came into power through systematic rigging in the last year general election then the party had no right to stay in power. “This is what we are going to investigate through the judicial commission,” he said, adding that there might be some flaws in the last year elections which even happen in the developed countries like United States. But we should also acknowledge that independent observers have described the last year general elections as the most credible polls in the history of the country, he added. Responding to a query, Information Minister Pervez Rashid maintained Imran Khan had been levelling allegations for the last 17 months but the PTI chief failed to provide any evidence to back up his contentions.
He said that Imran alleged that ballot papers were printed in Urdu Bazaar, Lahore but he failed to present a single piece of evidence, adding that he even did not name the brigadier who he alleged carried out rigging. “Actually, Imran wants to establish a kingdom where he is the king and enjoys all the powers to head all the institutions such as judiciary, military and Election Commission,” he maintained. To another question about the resignations of the PTI parliamentarians, he said it was a technical matter and the Speaker National Assembly to question all the PTI members individually to verify their resignations.
SOURCE: RECORDER REPORT