Saturday, April 17
Nawaz Sharif favours dividing provinces into more units
Expressing satisfaction over the constitutional package, Pakistan Muslim League-N Quaid Nawaz Sharif has said his party has played a substantial role and sacrificed a lot to build a consensus in this connection.
"We have contributed for nation's solidarity and unity following the very spirit of the Charter of Democracy,” he said in an exclusive interview with the Nawa-i-Waqt group on Friday (April 9).
To a query, Nawaz Sharif said it was responsibility of the government and political leaders, including Asfandyar Wali Khan, President Asif Zardari, PM Yousuf Raza Gilani and PML-N leaders to address the reservations of Hazara people. "Their feelings should be honoured. The agitation in Hazara is a democratic right of the people and the ANP government should address the issue," he observed, while mentioning that the PML-N party members from the Hazara district were unhappy over the renaming, and they were emotional about it till the last, but the PML-N had no complaints against them. He was of the view that the premier, president, the ANP leadership and the PML-N also must address the grievances of the Hazara’ites so that everyone should be happy about the renaming of the province.
While expressing his pleasure, he was of the view that the PML-N had its huge share of struggle in the 18th amendments, and it dated back to the signing of the Charter of Democracy in 2006. “It is a big relief for the masses that dictators’ amendments have been done away with. Now the CoD will be actualised step by step,” he vowed.
Nawaz Sharif asserted that he had sacrificed his wishes and emotions in the larger interest of the nation in so many matters. He mentioned that either before or after the last legislative polls, the PPP and the ANP had developed a consensus that the both parties would form government in the NWFP, and later would change the name of the Province. “We were not taken into confidence in this regard despite the fact that the PML-N was PPP’s partner in the government. However, the ANP threatened to withdraw its support for the 18th amendment if the NWFP was not renamed. If we had not agreed, then the constitutional package would have been obstructed, and consequently, dictators’ amendments would have stayed,” he maintained.
While maintaining that the people should be having forward-looking approach, he observed that if there were any justifications in carving out more provinces, and if the nation agreed to this, then it must be done. “People are talking of the Saraiki province in the Punjab. I am not against it, but I want that we should sit in the Parliament and decide the issue with consensus. India has 36 provinces, while Pakistan has only four. If we have the fifth, sixth and seventh, then the hell will not fall on us,” he argued.
To a question, Nawaz Sharif said he had nothing personal to do with Zardari or Gillani. “Our demand is very simple that the country should be run honestly; so that no one raises finger that corruption was being committed. Secondly, I want that the democracy should be successful and stay on track. No one should get a chance to derail it,” he said.
He did not want to comment on Zardari or any other person. While denying any change in his stance, Nawaz Sharif averred that he still wanted Pakistan’s wealth should be brought back immediately. “Secondly, those who have indulged in corruption, should leave the government. If they do not do so, then one must bring them down. The looters of Pakistan’s wealth should return it. I have been saying that Babar Awan should not join the commission for the appointment of judges since serious allegations have been levelled against him,” he demanded, adding that the PML-N had always supported strengthening of the institutions. “I have not personally met Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry. I have not talked to him on telephone either. I have not supported one person’s cause, rather our struggle was for the restoration of the judiciary,” he said.
Nawaz Sharif observed the government should not defy the Supreme Court order regarding the writing of the letter for the reopening of cases. About any possible clash with the Supreme Court, Nawaz said that the government should implement Supreme Court verdicts carefully, "It should obey the order of the Supreme Court in letter and spirit." The Supreme Court has said that it itself would decide about immunity.
To a query, Nawaz said that Supreme Court's clear-cut verdict about writing a letter to reopen Swiss cases should be honoured. "The attitude to go against court's verdict should be avoided," he advised the government.
He said that he had no doubts about the supremacy of the Parliament. "The Parliament is supreme, and all other institutes must accept this fact. Secondly, the Supreme Court has right to take suo moto notice and the Parliament has given this right through the Constitution,” he added.
Nawaz Sharif enumerated the successful projects – nuclear blast, Motorway, Coastal Highway, Lahore Airport and others – initiated and completed during his stint as premier from 1997 to 1999. He opined that the continuation of the government was a must for the successful completion and running of the projects.
Nawaz said that the government had not taken them on board regarding recent strategic dialogues held in US, but the outcome of the dialogues was in country's favour, which was positive sign. He urged the government to make the international community aware of financial expenditures Pakistan was bearing in war on terror, as the nation was fighting this war for to ensure the world's peace. He said that he felt happy when he knew about Army or Gen Ashfaq Pervez Kyani's role in judge's restoration. "If he (Kyani) has played a role, it is for the first time that a military general save democracy from derailing,” Nawaz said, adding, "However dictators and generals who abrogated the Constitution should be held accountable."
Nawaz said that suicide attacks and terror activities were not acceptable at any cost. However, he said that consensus should be created to launch an effort for establishing peace. "You cannot rule out this option and you shouldn't also," he added.
To another query, Nawaz said that his party had not demanded mid-term elections. However, he urged the government to set its direction right. “The government should focus on issues including load-shedding at utmost priority,” he pointed out.
He ruled out possibility of any space for those people who ditched the party and joined hands with former ruler Pervez Musharraf. He said that the elements involved in conspiracy against the party would not be taken back. "They should join Musharraf's party, we'll be happy", he opined.