No talks with Imran Khan unless he apologises to public: PM Shehbaz

The premier suggests parliament take action after judges' dissenting note over CJP powers

Web Desk
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif addresses the National Assembly session in Islamabad on March 28, 2023. — PID
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif addresses the National Assembly session in Islamabad on March 28, 2023. — PID

  • Not possible to talk with someone who looted country, attacked judiciary, PM says.
  • He says parliament must do what it can to make laws that will facilitate SC's “decision”.
  • Premier adds instead of facing cases, Khan is attacking law enforcement agencies.

In a fiery address at the National Assembly on Tuesday, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said he was of the clear opinion that talks between the government and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan will only be possible if the former premier admits his "wrongdoings" and apologises to people for all the things he has said and done.

Labelling Khan as a “fraud,” the premier said that it was “not possible to talk" with someone who had “looted the country, attacked the judiciary and did not believe in the Constitution and justice", until he publicly apologised to people and admitted to having caused damage to the country and the Constitution.

“I believe no discussions can be held with a person who consistently and condescendingly rejects invitations for talks on everything — be it COVID-19, the state of terrorism in the country, the apex committee meeting or the Kashmir conference," PM Shehbaz added.

"In a democracy, we have no weapons, merely dialogue," the PM said, emphasising that it was not possible to give in to Khan; "however, we are short on time."

'Ray of hope'

Speaking about the dissenting note issued by two judges of the Supreme Court (SC) who raised questions over the powers of the chief justice of Pakistan (CJP), the prime minister said the "move was a ray of hope".

He further added that the “decision” yesterday had been made by four of the seven members of the bench and since the Parliament is empowered to make laws in the country, it, must do what it can to make laws that will facilitate the “decision”.

A day earlier, in a 27-page detailed note — considered to be a ‘judgement’ — for the apex court's March 1 verdict in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa suo motu, Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah and Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail pointed out that it is important “to revisit the power of ‘one-man show’ enjoyed by the office of the CJP [Umar Ata Bandial]".

“The voices for change stemming from the judiciary itself is certainly a ray of hope for the country,” Shehbaz said, adding that if the house did not play its part in making the ‘needed” changes, the nation will not forgive them.

“Today, we must decide whether we want to help the millions of people in this country or we want to facilitate one favourite,” the prime minister said.

'Imran blackmailing judiciary'

Shedding light on the recent fiasco witnessed during the court proceeding of the PTI chief, the premier said that a certain "favourite" does not appear before any court, no matter how many notices have been issued to him.

"He gets an extension in different courts in the dark of the night and makes a mockery of the judiciary," PM Shehbaz lamented, criticising Khan for his remarks against a sitting woman judge and the fact that no action has been taken in this case so far.

"Khan made false cases against the opposition when he was in government and signed an agreement with the IMF [International Monetary Fund] and violated it," the premier said listing down the wrongdoings of the PTI government.

PM Shehbaz regretted that the PTI chief has been "blackmailing the judiciary through violent tactics", adding that Khan does not recognise the law and constitution and was not surrendering before the courts.

"Instead of facing the cases against himself, Imran Khan is attacking law enforcement agencies," he added.

Calling out Khan for pushing the country towards bankruptcy, the premier reiterated that the current coalition government "saved the country".

"Today, the IMF is taking guarantees from us at every step. We have fulfilled all the conditions of the IMF. Congratulations to the finance minister who finalised the terms of the deal with the Fund," he said. 

PM Shehbaz endorses ECP's decision 

The premier — while emphasising the need to steer the country out of its current dire straits — urged the House to fulfil its constitutional responsibility to protect the country from constitutional and political crisis.

He told the members of the lower house that the pillars of the state will have to play their role for this purpose.

"Our constitution clearly protects the separation of powers, while at present, some judicial verdicts are openly violating the constitution by supporting PTI in all cases," he said, adding that certain legislation should be made to strengthen rule of law in the country.

Regarding the ECP decision to delay the polls in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa till October 8, the premier justified the electoral body’s decision by saying that the decision has been taken keeping in view the resurgence of terrorism in the country.

“No political party can run away from the elections, as polls are the beauty of a democracy,” he said.