Opposition questions transparency of 2018 polls after accusations against ex-CJP

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Khawaja Asif on Monday said that the allegations raised by former Chief Justice of Gilgit Appellate Court Rana M Shamim against Former Chief Justice Saqib Nisar have raised serious questions over the transparency of the 2018 general elections.
Asif’s statement came after a story was published in a local newspaper, which stated that former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz were kept in jail till the elections on the orders of Justice Saqib Nisar.
However, the former CJ of the Supreme Court has denied the charges. Speaking to the media, Nisar, who ordered the formation of a joint investigation team (JIT) in the Panama Papers case that led to the disqualification of then Nawaz Sharif, said he didn’t want to respond to the “plain lies” of the ex-GB chief justice.
Nisar said Shamim had asked him for an extension but he didn’t accept his request, adding that the ex-GB CJ had also complained to him about the same.
Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry also took exception to this report and said it was an “absurd” story by the journalist.
“All this controversy raises serious questions over the transparency of the elections of 2018… Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz were given punishment for crimes they did not even commit,” said Asif while addressing a National Assembly session in Islamabad.
Quoting the report, he said that orders were given via phone not to release Nawaz and Maryam before the elections, saying that his leader and his daughters were unjustly imprisoned.
PML-N leader questioned that if the apex court of the country was involved in such practices then where could one expect to find justice.
Responding to Khawaja Asif, Federal Minister for Communication and Postal Services Murad Saeed said that if Nawaz Sharif loves Pakistan so much then why doesn’t he return?
“If you (Nawaz) love Pakistan so much then why don’t you return the looted money and return to the country,” he questioned, adding that if the former prime minister was seeking a compromise then he was making a mistake.
Talking about the report, he said that whatever happened today was akin to “attacking” the judiciary, adding that whenever PML-N doesn’t get court orders in their favour they deploy such tactics.
Murad said that Nawaz Sharif was declared a “liar” by the court, adding that PML-N wanted a judge like Justice Qayyum and a regime like General Zia. “When they don’t get what they want, then they try to hatch conspiracies against the military, they try to malign the judges and strangle the voice of the media,” he added.
The minister said that both Nawaz Sharif and former finance minister Ishaq Dar were fugitives. “I ask them when would they come to Pakistan? coronavirus pandemic ended… US left Afghanistan… now what is your excuse? Those who were in London are still there.”
Federal Planning Minister Asad Umar, while addressing the house, told the opposition parties that the electronic voting machines (EVMs) will be used during the next general elections and the vote theft will be stopped.
Talking about the opposition’s planned long march, he said that JUI-F Amir Maulana Fazlur Rehman had come to Islamabad earlier too but returned empty-handed.
“One of their (opposition) leaders (Nawaz Sharif) a while ago was instigating his workers to go against the army since he was residing comfortably in London,” he added.
Asad said that the government doesn’t fear the PDM or the independent media and his statement was about those people belonging to the media who act as “facilitators” of PDM.
“Journalists were asking questions [about PDM] so I said that they were just ‘seasonal illness’,” he clarified.

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