Shah urges govt to desist from removing Kh Asif under ‘pressure’

ISLAMABAD: Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Syed Khurshid Ahmad Shah on Tuesday opposed any move to remove Defence Minister Khawja Muhammad Asif on the pressure of a subordinate institution of the government, an apparent reference to the Army.
 “If this practice was allowed to flourish, then the prime minister can also be replaced in future,” Shah said while talking to the press outside the Parliament House. He suggested the government to adopt a better option by inducting a new minister in the cabinet to give him the charge of Defence Ministry as Khawaja Asif also holds the water and power portfolio.
Terming the attack on journalist Hamid Mir “an unfortunate incident”, Shah called for avoiding the blame game and felt that it was not appropriate to put the blame on a single institution over the issue.
He was also critical of rallies in favour of the Pakistan Army as well as the media and called it “an unhealthy trend.” He advised the people not to indulge in such practices.
The opposition leader said that the media had grown up to an institution but that it should work within its limits. “The government should intervene and bring the conflict between a media group and the Army to an end,” he added.
About the planned move of Dr Tahirul Qadri to launch an agitation against the government, Shah emphasised the need for resolving all issues inside the parliament and said that Dr Qadri should not hold a rally for scoring political points.
“If issues are not resolved inside the parliament, then people should take to the streets,” he said and added that he had witnessed several ups and downs in political history of the country.
About peace parleys with the Taliban, Shah accused the government of not having clarity of mind in holding the talks. He also called for taking the opposition into confidence over this issue.
He also targeted the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf’s decision to move courts over the Pakistan Protection Ordinance and called it “a premature decision” because of a lack of political experience – that was proved when the party withdrew the petition against the legislation.
He also called for consulting politicians with regard to the country’s foreign policy and urged Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to invite leaders of all political parties and consult them.
Shah also appealed to the prime minister to take notice of statements of State Minister for Water and Power Abid Sher Ali, declaring three provinces other than Punjab electricity “thieves.” 
“If Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif does not take notice of Abid Sher Ali’s statements, it will be understood that the matter was progressing under his guidance,” he said.

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