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People have altogether rejected July 28, 2017, verdict: Shahid Khaqan

24 January, 2018

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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Tuesday once again called into question what he called controversial verdicts passed by the superior judiciary, especially the one which resulted into ouster of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif in the Panama Papers case.

“People have altogether rejected the July 28, 2017, verdict in Panama Papers case. History too will never accept this decision, just like it didn’t approve the ruling which resulted into hanging of former prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto,” Abbasi told a select group of journalists at the Prime Minister’s Office.

“Verdict should speak, not the judges,” the prime minister observed, adding that ‘breaking news hysteria’ will never serve the cause of justice in the country. “The culture of issuing 36-hour, 72-hour deadlines will only create sensation and instill fear instead of helping in resolution of problems faced by the masses,” Abbasi said, apparently in a veiled reference to the apex court giving deadlines to the government functionaries while hearing suo motu cases on different matters in the recent days.

The prime minister was also skeptical of the procedure of appointment of judges in the superior courts. “There have been instances where ineligible people were appointed as judges of the superior courts,” he said, adding that once a judge is appointed, he is there until he reaches the age of superannuation. “Hence, prior checks about qualification and competence of a nominee, his family history, his credibility, his professional integrity, his thoughts on matters of national interests, etc, must be mandatory, as is the practice in the developed world,” he said, and proposed holding of a ‘grand debate’ to revisit the procedure of appointment of superior court judges.

To a question about DG ISPR Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor refusing to guarantee timely general elections in the country, the prime minister said, “How can he guarantee that elections are held on time or not? It is civilian government’s job, not Pakistan Army’s …. and I guarantee you that PML-N government will complete its five-year tenure and elections will be held on time, not even a second earlier.”

To a question about upcoming Senate elections and rumours about dissolution of assemblies, the prime minister said none other than him had the authority to dissolve assemblies. “And I will not dissolve assemblies on the wish of others. If they have courage and enough strength, they must table a no-confidence motion against me, send me home, bring their own prime minister and then they will be free to fulfill their agenda,” he said.

The prime minister said that PML-N’s was the only government that did not face any charges of corruption in its five-year tenure. “Government is functioning with complete transparency and there is no stain on its credibility,” he said, adding the current regime had numerous milestones to its credit, including overcoming the electricity and gas crises and expansion of the countrywide road network. “We will get back to people in 2018 general election with proof of these achievements,” he said, while regretting that the governments of General Pervez Musharraf and Asif Ali Zardari neglected the key development sectors of the country.

Abbasi said Pakistan was conducting operations against the terrorists within its territory purely for its own objectives and to bring peace in the country. He said Pakistan had already paid a heavy price in its war against terrorism and would continue it till the clearing of the last remnants of terrorists.

About drone attacks, the prime minister said Pakistan had the right to take any action it deemed right to protect its ground and air frontiers.

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