CM must be charged with high treason: Opp
By Qamar Jabbar
LAHORE: The Punjab assembly opposition demanded that the chief minister be charged with high treason for asking President Gen Pervez Musharraf to stay in uniform for the next five years.
Protesting in the House on Monday, the opposition said the chief minister had violated articles 5 and 6 of the Constitution by supporting the president’s uniform. They urged the assembly speaker to take suo moto notice of the chief minister’s statement.
The opposition threatened a suit against the government if the ruling party passed any resolution that said the president could stay in the army. They said President Musharraf had promised the nation that he would step down as army chief before December 31 and the ruling party had no right to violate the Constitution. Punjab Law Minister Basharrat Raja rejected the “opposition propaganda” and said the PML not only supported the president, but also adopted resolutions in the national and provincial assemblies to request that the president be allowed to stay in uniform for the next five years.
Mr Raja said that the preisent’s policies had restored democracy and had allowed Pakistan to survive in the post-9/11 world. “We are not favouring the president for our personal interest but in the interest of Pakistan,” he said. The nation was behind the PML and wanted to see the president in uniform, he said. Deputy Speaker Sardar Shaukat Mazari said the issue of the president’s uniform would be settled after December 31.
Parliamentary Law Secretary Ahmad Khan said each political party was entitled to their own view and the chief minister did not abrogate the Constitution as he had a public mandate. Pakistan People’s Party Parliamentarians MPA Rana Aftab Khan said the 17th Amendment to the Constitution required the president to shed his uniform by the end of this year. Deputy opposition leader Rana Sanaullah Khan said the nation would not tolerate a president in uniform after December 31.
He said that if the president had made a commitment to the nation, the CM had no right to request him to stay in uniform. He alleged that the ruling party only wanted to support the president because of the added power he gave to them. He said dictators had no right to remain in power. MMA MPAs Chaudhry Asghar Gujar and Ehsanullah Waqas said the ruling party had held negotiations with the MMA leadership for the 17th amendment and decided that the president would step down from the army by December 31. He said PML President Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain had signed the agreement with the MMA.