ISLAMABAD: Interior Minister and senior leader of Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) Ahsan Iqbal on Tuesday said that our nation is faced with ‘abnormal circumstances’ which call for the ‘house to be set in order.’
Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif, in a remark on September 5, had said that the country needs to put the house in order, which was later endorsed by Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi but severely criticised by former interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, who said that government officials should refrain from issuing statements that reinforce the enemy’s narrative and embarrass Pakistan in front of the international community.
“Nations that are alive regularly conduct exercises of self-accountability, and [our self-analysis] only points out how every religious event has become a security nightmare instead of a symbol of peace,” Iqbal said. “Don’t we then need to set our house in order?”
Speaking on Geo News’ programme Capital Talk, the interior minister criticised the country’s political situation.
Our seventy-year-old history has repeated time and again, Iqbal said, adding that former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s disqualification was similar to the dismissal of former prime minister (late) Muhammad Khan Junejo, who was dismissed by former president and martial law administrator Zia-ul-Haq, on charges of incompetency and economic stagflation.
“We are a nation faced with abnormal circumstances,” Iqbal said in response to a question on his earlier statement where he had asked, “when will Pakistan become a normal nation.”
The minister insisted that the effects of political instability were far-reaching and harmful for the country.
“A Chinese investor, who was all set to invest in Pakistan, is now reassessing the decision after Supreme Court disqualified Nawaz Sharif” he said, adding that foreign investors have become wary of making investments in the country, which are directly linked with the country’s economic growth, because of an unstable democratic framework.
In response to a question if the PML-N, by bulldozing the Elections Bill (now Act) 2017 in the parliament, had established a “state within the state” – a phrase recently used by the interior minister after rangers surrounded an accountability court before the former premier’s hearing – Iqbal responded that the party had only removed a ‘black law’ introduced by field marshal Ayub Khan in 1962.
“Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto did away with the clause that prevented an individual, declared ineligible from holding public office, to head a political party,” he said. “From 1975 till 2002, the new legislation remained but General (r) Musharraf, in an attempt to paralyze the PML-N and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), amended the law through the Political Parties ordinance.”
The minister lamented that this amendment was proposed and approved at the behest and for the benefit of one person – former president Musharraf.
Lashing out at the opposition party PPP, Iqbal expressed his surprise at the party’s objection to a legislation created by its own founder (Bhutto).