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Opposition running away from judicial commission: Pervaiz Rashid

Lahore: Federal Minister for Information, broadcasting and National Heritage Senator Senator Pervaiz RashidPervaiz Rashid said opposition parties knew that the hands of Prime Minister Nawaz  Sharif were clean and corruption allegations against him would be exposed.

Those running away from judicial commission wanted to save their cronies, who were involved in corruption, he said while talking to newsmen here at Hunarkadda.

The minister said in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the Bank of Khyber scandal had emerged but Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan did not form any commission. Rather Sikander Sherpao, whom Imran himself had sacked on the allegations of corruption, would investigate the matter, he added.

He said when the KP Chief Minister and one of his Cabinet Ministers were accusing each other of corruption, Imran did not bother to form any commission again.

Even Imran Khan himself, he said, had been facing allegations about the misuse of funds of Shaukat Khanum Cancer Hospital.

Moreover, he said a case for misappropriation in PTI funds was pending with the Election Commission as Imran had been trying to delay the proceedings on various pretexts.

The minister said now that the Prime Minister had announced formation of the commission, there was no justification for agitation and anyone indulging in street protests would be joining hands with those forces, which wanted that China Pakistan Economic Corridor should not complete and that Pakistan should not become a prosperous country.

He said when Nawaz Sharif came to power in 2013, the world media had been painting the worst scenario for Pakistan, predicting that its economy would collapse by 2015.

Moreover, he said that internationally it was being said that terrorists could take over Islamabad any time as two to three terrorist attacks daily were a routine matter and mosques, churches, hospitals and schools were being targeted.

Pervaiz Rashid said after the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) came to power things started to improve and the economy, which was on the verge of collapse, got stabilized and then it reached at the take-off stage.

Now international media was predicting that in next 20 years Pakistan could become one of the top economies of the world, he added.

He noted that the achievements of past two and a half years were the outcome and fruit of democracy in the country.

He said in the war against terrorism valiant soldiers had laid their lives to make the country a safer place and consensus-based political support and patronage given to Operation Zarb-e Azb played its role.”If consensus-based legislation was not done in the Parliament for the purpose, there could have been hurdles in the success of the operation.”

The minister said it was the result of political vision of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif that consensus was created among the political parties against terrorism. He reminded that after 2013 election, the PML-N leadership allowed Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf to form the government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa despite the fact that it did not have majority there.

Similarly in Sindh, the Pakistan Peoples Party was asked to form the government though the PML-N could have formed a government along with MQM and PML-F there, he added.

He said in Balochistan the PML-N was in majority but it allowed Dr Malik to become the Chief Minister.  He said that the Prime Minister showed great vision as he took all political forces along as he knew that there was need of consensus to overcome the challenges faced by the country.

The Minister said that Pakistan had started coming out of the crisis but still there were great challenges ahead.

“We may have defeated terrorists but extremist mindset has to be beaten as well and this goal cannot be achieved if the political parties decide to settle political issues on roads”. He said that unfortunately, the germs of extremism had also entered national politics as some leaders wanted to overthrow the elected government through use of undemocratic means. He said in democracy decisions were made in the Parliament. He cited the example of United Kingdom where both Prime Minister David Cameron and opposition parties discussed the issues in the Parliament.

The Minister said that all the people accepted the decisions of judges of the superior courts. About PPP leader Chaudhry Aitzaz Ahsan, he said that he himself claimed that he led the struggle for restoration of deposed judges but now he did not accept the commission. If Aitzaz did not accept the commission, then it meant he was wrong in the judges’ restoration and should apologize to the nation, he added.

He said the Prime Minister had stated that if corruption of even a single penny was proved against him, he would go home. What Imran Khan would do if corruption allegations were rejected by the commission, he asked.To a question, Pervaiz Rahid said the Prime Minister had been advised by the doctors to rest for a few days, however, he was overall enjoying good health. He said the PTI leadership should apologize to the women, who were mistreated in the party meeting on Sunday as there was no harm in tendering an apology over such an issue.

To another question, he said the Prime Minister’s family had been victimized on many occasions in the past. Twice the governments of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto, he said, put the Sharif family to the altar of accountability while the third time dictator Pervez Musharraf subjected them to the worst accountability, but on all the three occasions nothing was proved against them. Now for the fourth time, Nawaz Sharif had offered himself for accountabilty, he added. He said there were demands of across the board accountability as Leader of the Opposition in National Assembly Syed Khursheed Shah and PTI leader Shah Mehmood Qureshi had called for the same.

It was strange that now the government had written a letter to Chief Justice of Pakistan for formation of a commission for across the board accountability, but the opposition parties were backtracking, he remarked. Regarding the commission’s terms of reference (ToRs), Pervaiz Rashid said all the demands of opposition parties had been met in the ToRs and the PML-N had no objection, if investigations were started from 2016 and then go back to 1947.

Earlier in his address, the minister said that non-governmental organizations like Hunarkadda were playing their role in promotion of arts and culture in Pakistan.

He said that new generation needed to be taught about arts, culture and civilization. He said that Hunarkadda could utilize the facilities at Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation, Pakistan Television Corporation, and Pakistan National Council of Arts and Lok Virsa. He said  arts, culture, civilization, music, languages, dances and folk stories were national assets which should be protected and preserved.He said that all over the world the nations used these things for their introduction and “we also should use them as our identity as suicide jackets and bombs cannot be our identity among the comity of nations.”

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