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Ayaz Sadiq rejected all references against Nawaz Sharif

06 September, 2016

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ISLAMABAD: National Assembly Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq on Monday rejected all references against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif but forwarded two references filed against Imran Khan and his close friend Jahangir Khan Tareen to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

The speaker also rejected a reference filed against Pakhtunkhwa Mili Awami Party (PkMAP) chief Mahmood Khan Achakzai. Though the speaker’s office was mum over the issue, ECP officials confirmed that they received eight references from the NA speaker. They said that the speaker had rejected four references against Nawaz Sharif – submitted by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Awami Muslim League (AML) – and ruled that the question of Nawaz Sharif’s disqualification does not arise, as the evidence provided to him was not sufficient in terms of Clause 2 of Article 63 of the constitution. Therefore, he decided not to refer the petition to the ECP.

The PTI’s vice chairman and 21 other members of the National Assembly, along with AML chief Sheikh Rasheed Ahmad and former MNA Sardar Umar Farooq, submitted the references against the prime minister. They had pleaded that the incumbent premier had not declared his family members’ offshore companies in his nomination papers, and thus violated articles 62 and 63 of the constitution.

However, this reason was apparently not enough to move the NA speaker, who eventually ruled in favour of his prime minister.

Surprisingly, the NA speaker forwarded two references to the ECP against Imran Khan and his party’s Secretary General Jahangir Khan Tareen.

The speaker said in his ruling that according to the revenue record, a piece of land measuring 300 acres was not gifted to Imran Khan, adding that the PTI chief paid more than Rs 40 million for that land.

On the reference against Jahangir Khan Tareen, the speaker took the stance that the PTI leader got some loans written off, so he had no right to contest the election.

The NA speaker also rejected a reference against Mahmood khan Achakzai, filed by a citizen, Waheed Kamal, seeking disqualification of the PkMAP head over his ‘anti-Pakistan’ statement that he made on the floor of the National Assembly.

The speaker told the Lower House on Monday evening that he had received eight references of various natures, which were forwarded to the ECP. This prompted the opposition to stage a protest against the speaker who, in their opinion, made discriminatory decisions on the references and saved Nawaz Sharif from disqualification.

Meanwhile, NA Speaker Ayaz Sadiq told reporters at the Parliament House that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had no link with the Panama leaks, nor did the PTI provide sufficient evidence in its reference against the PM.

The speaker maintained that he considered all those references thoroughly for nine days – looking for substantial evidence provided in the documents. He also outlined the reasons for the decisions he made on the references.

He told the journalists that a reference against PTI chief Imran Khan had been sent to the ECP on the basis of solid evidence and documents, while the reference against Jahangir Tareen was forwarded to the ECP on the basis of solid evidence.

To a question, the speaker made it clear that he could not disqualify any member of the National Assembly; rather it was the duty of the ECP. “Now they have to make a decision in 90 days on these references. The ECP can agree or disagree with my opinion and rulings.”

He said that it was not the first time the PTI had accused him of partiality towards the PML-N. He complained that the PTI had been accusing him for being unfair for long, and added that he acted solely on merit.

Meanwhile, PTI chief Imran Khan said the National Assembly speaker was not unbiased. Talking to the media before leaving for Karachi, Imran said that PM Nawaz Sharif had completely ruined the NA speaker’s office. “We are going to Raiwind for answers to the four questions asked from the PM in the Lahore rally, whereas the PML-N will only come to Bani Gala for blackmailing.”

Sources said that September 24 is being considered for the next phase of the ‘accountability march’. Earlier, Imran Khan had said that poverty-stricken people and their children were dying of starvation and the government was not doing anything for them. He also announced to attend a protest of employees seeking salary raise before Eidul Azha.

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