Federal Cabinet approves formation of special committee to deliberate treason proceedings against PTI leadership
ISLAMABAD ( Web News )
Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb on Friday said that federal cabinet has constituted a special committee to deliberate whether action should be taken against the PTI leadership under Article 6 of the Constitution.
Article 6 states that any person who “abrogates or subverts or suspends or holds in abeyance, or attempts or conspires to abrogate or subvert or suspend or hold in abeyance, the Constitution by use of force or show of force or by any other unconstitutional means shall be guilty of high treason.”
The development on the government exploring Article 6 proceedings against the PTI leadership comes after the Supreme Court released a detailed judgment explaining the reasons why it dismissed former National Assembly deputy speaker Qasim Khan Suri’s controversial ruling on no-trust move against then-prime minister Imran Khan.
Addressing a press conference, Marriyum Aurangzeb shed light on the decisions taken by the federal cabinet met under the chair of Prime Minister Mian Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif. A special committee has been formed headed by Minister for Law and Justice Senator Chaudhry Azam Nazeer Tarar, which will present its suggestions in the next federal cabinet meeting.
She said that the committee would present a report on the implementation of the points put forward by the Supreme Court of Pakistan and will suggest an inquiry under Article 6 and other laws to prevent constitutional violations from occurring in the future. She said that the Prime Minister and the ministers have lauded the detailed verdict.
“The judgment has proven that the previous government passed unconstitutional orders,” she said, adding that now is the time to decide whether the “murder of Pakistan’s Constitution, democracy, and laws” is acceptable.
“Hence, the cabinet committee will suggest measures that can be taken against Imran Khan and his government for violating the Constitution and present a report in the next meeting,” she added.
She said that a resolution was passed in the cabinet meeting “to stop attacks on the parliament, Constitution and democracy forever”. A committee was also formed on Friday, she said, that will propose measures in light of the court’s decision in the next meeting.
The special committee will be headed by Law Minister Azam Nazeer Tarar and will include representatives of the interior and information ministries as well as federal ministers and all allied parties.
In response to a question on who will be prosecuted under Article 6 [high treason], Marriyum Aurangzeb said that “the court’s decision is clear in which it is mentioned that the speaker, deputy speaker, president, prime minister disrespected their constitutional duties”.
“The cabinet has decided that the committee will make a proposal to end this unconstitutional violation and the cabinet will approve it,” she said.
Responding to questions concerning fears of political persecution, the information minister added that “we are not Imran Khan’s government. An independent inquiry commission will be formed to oversee the matter”. She also added that she “wished not to comment on the matter prematurely”, but the process will remain transparent.
While talking about the Tayyab Gul case, the minister also said that the cabinet has approved the formation of an independent inquiry commission to investigate it.
In 2019, a video clip surfaced featuring Gul and then-National Accountability Bureau chairman retired Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal, which politicians later alleged was used to “blackmail” him into moving against the then-opposition.
Earlier this month, she appeared before the Public Accounts Committee and made shocking allegations about Iqbal.
Merriyum Aurangzeb said that Gul had also claimed that she was “held captive at the Prime Minister’s Office for 18 days” during Imran’s tenure.
“She had filed a harassment complaint at the PM’s portal after which she was called to the PM’s Office and illegally held captive,” the minister said.
Later, all the evidence and videos collected in the case were used against the NAB chief, she alleged. “Imran Khan blackmailed Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal and compromised an institution for political means,” she claimed.
“Therefore, we have decided to form an inquiry commission,” she said, adding that the law minister would work on formulating the body’s terms of reference and present them before the cabinet at the next meeting.
Marriyun Aurangzeb said that the evidence Gul had was usurped from the alleged sexual harassment and abuse victim which was then used to blackmail the then NAB chairman justice (retd) Javed Iqbal, for political gains.
Not only was a “harassment victim further exploited” said the minister, but also “an entire institution was compromised” by the former premier.
Taking a dig at Imran Khan’s controversial opinion on rape, Murriyum said “the man who used to say women are raped because they don’t dress appropriately did this” to a victim of abuse.
She further added that an independent inquiry commission is to be formed to probe into the matter under the Commission of Inquiries Act, 2017 under the supervision of Law Minister Azam Nazeer Tarar who will finalise the terms of reference and panel list for the commission in conjunction with the cabinet. She also said that the Commission on Enforced Disappearances was also plagued by various similar complaints from women, and would also be made a part of the committee. She also revealed that the commission would be “time-bound” but further details were still to be finalized.
She said that cabinet also reiterated to complete the IMF programme for development and economic self-reliance of the country.
She said the meeting validated the decisions taken by the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC). These decisions include import of three million tons of wheat and permission to import luxury items lying on ports by paying additional duty of five percent and 15 percent as per their arrival at ports after the ban in import of luxury items.
The minister said all relevant agencies, including the armed forces, police, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), and the Provincial Disaster Managment Authority were lauded for their continuing efforts during the ongoing monsoon rains in country, and ordered to remain vigilant. The cabinet approved preemptive security measures to protect people. She said that PM Shehbaz Sharif also ordered a relief package to be dispatched immediately to the affectees after NDMA, provincial authorities’ survey is completed.
The information minister said that following the reduction in petroleum products prices in the international market, the government had ordered strict monitoring of reduction in public transport fares on federal, provincial and local levels.
Blaming the country’s economic woes on the previous PTI government, the minister said that an agreement had been reached with the IMF after tough negotiations and particularly the efforts of Finance Minister Dr. Miftah Ismail Ahmed, adding that Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and their respective teams were praiseworthy.
“The government’s resolve is clear,” she said, “the country can emerge out of economic crisis only through self-reliance and stability”.
She also revealed that the cabinet had approved an import of three million ton of wheat, but agreements will be made taking advantage of the global fall in prices, and under tight monitoring and transparent process.
Speaking about the ban on luxury import items, the minister said the items that reached Pakistan’s ports within two weeks after the ban was imposed will be released with an additional 5% duty, while those reaching after the two-week cap will be released into the market with 15% duty.
The minister said the cabinet approved an amnesty on overstay for foreign citizens till December 31 this year. An awareness campaign will also be launched by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting regarding this amnesty, she added.