Asfandyar says parliament must complete its term
PESHAWAR: Awami National Party (ANP) chief Asfandyar Wali Khan says Pakistan Muslim League-N leader Nawaz Sharif has become victim of the articles of the Constitution the ANP wanted to change but the former prime minister vehemently refused.
“Articles 62 and 63 relating to sagacity and righteousness of a parliamentarian as in the 1973 Constitution could not be misused but later Gen Ziaul Haq made them dangerous through changes,” said Mr Khan.
He was speaking at a press conference at Bilour House here on Saturday. Mr Khan, the leader of the only party that had refrained from making political statements when the Supreme Court heard the Panama Papers case, finally broke his silence after holding a meeting with senior members of the ANP on the post-verdict situation.
“During the process of preparation for the 18th Amendment, we proposed changes to Articles 62 and 63 to restore them to what they were in the 1973 Constitution. But it was Nawaz Sharif who refused and now look what has happened,” the ANP chief said.
He said in a lighter vein that he was sure that all the people sitting in the room did not meet the criteria set by Articles 62 and 63.
He said that the ANP respected the court verdict as the (Panama Papers) issue was taken to the court instead of parliament. He advised the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz to accept the decision without making much fuss, quickly nominate a prime minister and obtain a vote of confidence the way the Pakistan Peoples Party did when Yousuf Raza Gilani was convicted of contempt of court and sent home.
Mr Khan said: “Individuals can be replaced … but parliament and democracy should not weaken in any way.” He said that the (current) democratic system might not be perfect but all (politicians) had contributed to its weaknesses and needed to work hard to make it strong.
He said that keeping its reservations aside, the ANP accepted the SC decision. He said that the ANP had grievances against the Nawaz Sharif government for the way it delayed the process of reforms in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata), dragged its feet on across-the-board implementation of the National Action Plan and deprived Khyber Pakhtunkhwa of its due share in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor but still his party wanted the political set-up to continue.
It would be a setback if the assurances extended by the PML-N government for KP and Fata did not materialise, he said.
The ANP leader said that Pakistan could not afford any internal and external problem at this time. He said that the political leadership and the media had been focused on the Panama Papers case for a year while ignoring the problems faced by people, and hoped that now the federal and provincial governments would shift their focus to public issues.
He said that democracy should not derail and the tradition of completion of term, set by the previous democratic government, should continue.
In his usual candid style, Mr Khan easily got away without answering some questions like who would be next in line to go under Articles 62 and 63. -DN