PTI spokespersons directed to highlight PMLN’s past misbehavior, with premier vowing to not permit any attempts to pressure judges
Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday described an alleged audio recording of former Chief Justice of Pakistan Saqib Nisar as an “attack” on the judiciary and directed spokespersons of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) to resist all attempts to “pressure” judges.
Last week, former Gilgit-Baltistan chief justice Rana Shamin had alleged that Nisar “had given instructions to keep former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and PMLN Vice President Maryam Nawaz in jail till the general elections in 2018.” The former chief justice has denied this, claiming he had no such conversation with Shamim.
On Sunday, an audio clip allegedly featuring Nisar was leaked. A man alleged to be Nisar can be heard saying: “Let me be a little blunt about it. Unfortunately, here it is the ‘institutions’ which dictate judgments. In this case, we will have to penalize Mian Sahib [Nawaz Sharif]. And ‘they’ say ‘we shall bring Khan Sahib.’ Regardless of the merit, we will have to do it, and even to his daughter [Maryam].”
“They [PMLN] are a mafia which pressurizes judges to take decisions in their favor … they will not be allowed to use such tactics,” the prime minister was quoted as telling PTI spokespersons in their meeting. He urged them to highlight the PMLN’s past misbehavior with the judiciary, claiming the public should be informed that the party had “attacked” judges.
According to sources familiar with the meeting, Khan stressed that his government respects all institutions and would stand by them.
The issue of electronic voting machines was also raised during the meeting. Legislation allowing the Election Commission of Pakistan to conduct polls via the controversial devices was passed by a joint sitting of Parliament last week. The prime minister reiterated that “no matter what” the next general elections would be conducted via EVMs and urged the spokespersons to inform the nation of their value. “The hindrances in the way of overseas Pakistanis’ voting should [also] be removed,” he was quoted as saying.
In this regard, Khan directed government officials to resolve issues related to overseas Pakistanis’ National Identity Card for Overseas Pakistanis and passports. “The government will fulfil its promise made to overseas Pakistanis,” he said.