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Donald Trump should retract his tweet about Pakistan,tender an apology: Shahid Khaqan

21 January, 2018

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ISLAMABAD/BHAKKAR: Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi Saturday said US President Donald Trump should retract his tweet about Pakistan and tender an apology. Speaking in a talk show, he said that after the US leadership’s tweet, the government of Pakistan had responded to it very strongly. On different forums, such tweets were declared as foolish, he added.

To another question, the prime minister said Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan should tender an apology for his disparaging remarks against parliament. He said the constitution enshrined the right to expression and nobody could be deprived of this right but whatever Imran Khan said about parliament was incorrect.

The prime minister said that on the other hand, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif had expressed his opinion about a judicial verdict, which was his constitutional right, but he never abused any institution. He said the democratic system had evolved in other countries, and it was still growing in Pakistan in which different institutions had their specific roles and rights. If the democratic process in Pakistan had continued, certain things would not have surfaced, he said. “Nawaz Sharif never spoke of unconstitutional things. Under the constitution, the right to association had been the fundamental right,” he added.

He said the courts had the discretion to decide a case. The verdict against the former prime minister was implemented but the people did not accept it and neither would history, he added.

There were different judicial cases, in which verdicts had not been accepted, he said, and referred to Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s case. Three judges in Bhutto’s case had conceded that they announced the judgement under pressure.

He said the right to appeal had not been granted in Panama case, however, the verdict in the instant case would not become a precedent and the debate over it would continue.

About Zainab’s case, the prime minister said they were cognizant of the pain and anger felt by the people in Kasur but there was no law in the country that could permit public hanging.

No one had the right to exceed the law and constitution, he said, adding that parliament was the only forum, which could legislate.

About criticism against the government, the prime minister said it was not a new thing as the executive had always been a punching bag of opponents.

Zainab’s case was a painful incident, but unfortunately the politicians had politicised a criminal issue, he regretted.

He said he was satisfied with the Punjab government’s progress to investigate the case. The efforts were underway to nab the culprit and the government was hopeful to bring the criminal to justice.

He said in the developed countries like the US and UK, people involved in such criminal cases had also evaded their arrests for decades despite efforts and availability of resources.

The prime minister said the police force had to deal with a host of issues as well, like dharna, law and order and so on. Provincial issues had always prompted provincial governments’ response which was clearly defined by the Constitution and the federal government had nothing to do with it, he added.

About change in Balochistan government, he said in politics, grievances often cropped up but there was democratic mechanism to address them at the provincial or the central levels.

He said he did not deny the democratic right of the elected members of the provincial assembly but what they did, would have negative impacts.

About privatisation of national carrier Pakistan International Airlines, the prime minister said this process had been underway since 2002. Rs450 billion PIA losses were the whopping one, he said.

He said it was his responsibility to resolve the issue in which the rights of the employees should be protected. If his government could not complete the process, the next government would continue the process as the country could not afford such losses, he said.

To a question about Indian threats, the prime minister said the indigenous struggle for freedom in the Indian occupied Kashmir had baffled India and it was trying to divert world attention from its gross human rights violations.

He said dialogue process with the neighbouring country was not possible till resolution of the core issues, adding the dialogue should be based on sincerity and not under any duress.

About the repatriation of Afghan refugees, the prime minister said Pakistan had hosted three million refugees and only bore the brunt of the Afghan issue. The world and Afghanistan must appreciate it, he stressed.

He reiterated that Pakistan could not be blamed for attacks inside Afghanistan. The rehabilitation of Afghanistan refugees was linked with the issues inside Afghanistan which should be resolved earnestly.

“The fencing of Pak-Afghan border will continue. War is no solution to Afghan issue. The issue can be resolved through dialogue and Afghan owned and Afghan led process. Pakistan and other countries can act as facilitators,” he added.

Meanwhile, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi challenged the opposition parties to move a no-confidence motion in the National Assembly and dissolve their respective provincial assemblies and face the masses’ decision in next elections. “They threatened to dissolve provincial assemblies to impede Senate elections. I have a clear message for those who curse the Parliament to dare dissolve assemblies, if anyone can. The people will give their response in election of July 2018. This politics of falsehood, conspiracy and curse will be buried forever,” he remarked addressing the launching ceremony of Prime Minister’s Health Insurance Card here. Minister for Health Saira Afzal Tarar and Punjab Health Minister Khawaja Salman Rafique and parliamentarians from the area were also present on the occasion.

Those who had staged circus at the Mall Road of Lahore would come to know what the politics is as they would approach masses after dissolving the provincial assemblies. People have not voted them to dissolve assemblies but for resolving national and public issues, he added.

He assured the gathering that the PML-N’s government would complete its term.

“I challenge those cursers to move a no-confidence motion in the National Assembly. Those who desire to dissolve assembly should first go there before making any such attempt,” he said addressing a charged gathering holding party flags.

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