Actions of Imran, Qadri merit trial under Article 6: Saad Rafique

Source: Published in Politics on Wednesday, September 10, 2014

If it wasn't for the forbearance of the Parliament, the actions of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) chief Tahirul Qadri during the past few weeks merit a trial under Article 6 of the Constitution, Railways Minister Saad Rafique said in an address at Wednesday’s joint session of the Parliament.

The Pakistan Muslim League - Nawaz (PML-N) leader said the politics of Imran and Qadri was based on hatred and their targets were the country's democratic forces.

“Our media trial is being done by a man who has done a total of a 48-hour hunger strike and has spent 2.5 days in jail during the lawyers’ movement," Rafique said referring to the PTI chairman.

“I fail to understand why the Oxford-educated Imran has lost his bearings...what are the pressures on him that he is resorting to the kind of language he is using,” the PML-N leader said.

Referring to the PAT chief, the minister said Qadri wanted to be Pakistan's imam-i-inqalab but had no understanding of what a revolution involved and what it actually meant.

Rafique said both Imran and Qadri were busy targeting people in their daily diatribes and had failed to absorb the reality that change could not be brought to Pakistan through use of force.

“We do not want Imran to die politically but he needs to understand that the landscape of politics has changed in Pakistan…It's also odd that Imran's children are living there an investment bigger than one's own children?”

Rafique further said that if the government wanted to, it could bring up a number of things to disparage and disrepute Imran.

“Imran should understand that those who live in glass houses should not throw stones at others.”

Criticising the PTI chairman’s call for civil disobedience, the PML-N leader asked under what law was Imran publicly inviting the police and the army to join a political rally.

“Under what law did he invite police and army personnel?’s the Parliament which is exercising restraint…otherwise both Imran and Qadri can be held accountable under Article 6 of the Constitution…a man who fought his entire election campaign calling for people to pay taxes is now preaching people not to pay taxes?”

He said that while people said there was no harm in opening the four constituencies that the PTI had been asking for, the matter was not limited to the said seats.

“It’s not about the four constituencies…it’s another matter…one is Imran’s ego which is greater than the value he gives to Pakistan…why should we entertain your ego?...D I Khan jailbreak didn’t lead to Pervez Khattak’s resignation…why?...It is the forbearance of the House that the speaker has not accepted their resignations…”

“We don’t want PTI to stay out of the House but how will they come back to the House? With their absolute disregard for the Parliament and the elected representatives of the people, how will they return to the House now?”

The minister said while Imran had done significant damage to his politics in recent weeks, he could still go back.

“It’s time to stop this and no one will ridicule him…it’s not the time for politics when people who are suffering from the floods are clamouring for help.”

Dar briefs lawmakers on status of talks

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on the floor of the House reiterated the government’s assertion that the PML-N along with other parties in Parliament are united on the issue of the PTI’s request for the prime minister’s resignation.

“It is not just our party, but the entire Parliament had rejected any notion of the PM’s resignation,” Dar said.

Dar expanded on the dialogue process between the PTI and government negotiating committees. “I told them [PTI] that the sixth point is non-negotiable. We told them that if you are not flexible on this then we cannot go ahead, but they expressed a desire to conduct peaceful negotiations. So we understood that they are flexible on this point,” he said.

He termed the five other proposals of the PTI as “futuristic”.

“We all agree that reforms are needed and that the election process needs review. We are united on the issue of reforms, changes in existing law, incorporation of technology etc – we have no objection to this.”

He added that the Electoral Reforms Committee is also doing its work, and that the government committee is also considering PTI’s proposals that a group of experts be included in the committee and that progress be made. “The dharna stalled the work of the electoral reforms committee. The secretariat was closed for one week. The science and technology minister could not brief the committee for this reason.”

He said that the other points put forth by the PTI pertain to a judicial commission to investigate rigging. He shared that the PTI wishes for Chief Justice of Pakistan Nasir-ul-Mulk to head the commission. “The government cannot tell a Supreme Court judge to head a commission,” Dar said, adding that the two sides ultimately agreed that they would be glad if CJP Mulk headed the commission.

Dar also said that if “systematic, widespread rigging” is proven, then no one in the government has a right to stay.

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