PML-N paying price for trying Musharraf: Ahsan

ISLAMABAD: Planning and Development Minister Ahsan Iqbal has said the prevailing political tensions in the country are because of the government’s decision to try former president retired Gen Pervez Musharraf under Article 6 of the Constitution.

“This is the only reason that the PML-N is facing all the difficulties,” he said at a news conference at the party’s Central Secretariat here on Wednesday.

Mr Iqbal, who is also deputy secretary general of the PML-N, said the current political crisis would be over if the government stopped pursuing the case against the former military dictator.

“If we also bow down (before their demands), the political horizon will clear up,” he said, adding that “friends of Musharraf” were out to destabilise democracy. “They are desperate to save the former president.”

The minister rejected a perception that the PML-N was against the armed forces and said that holding trial of a general did not mean that the party was against the whole army. “The party has great respect for the army as an institution which has been rendering great services for the country’s defence.”

Imran Khan termed risk for country’s economic growth

He criticised PTI Chairman Imran Khan for giving the call for a long march on the Independence Day and alleged that he had done so to fulfil some foreign agenda. He questioned Mr Khan’s frequent visits to the UK before the long march.

About the PTI chief’s demand for a complete ‘audit’ of the results of 2013 general elections, Mr Iqbal said Imran Khan should also tell the nation who would do the audit because he did not have faith in the government, the judiciary and the Election Commission.

“Do you want the audit from Indian Election Commission or the United Nations or like Afghanistan you also want John Kerry to resolve the dispute in Pakistan,” he asked.

The PML-N leader said that by expressing no confidence in every institution, the PTI chief wanted to portray Pakistan before the international community as a “banana republic”. He described Mr Khan as a “risk to the country’s economic growth”.

Mr Iqbal accused the PTI of indulging in politics of confrontation at a time when economy had started showing signs of improvement. Neither the PML-N nor the people would allow Mr Khan to sabotage the ongoing development works, he added.

He advised the PTI chief to change the date for his long march so that the nation could celebrate Independence Day under the national flag. He alleged that Mr Khan was doing “politics of polarisation” by asking his supporters to come out in the streets with party flags, instead of the national flag, on Aug 14.

Mr Iqbal said PML-N workers were watching all these developments with patience. “What will happen if we also give a call to our workers,” he said, adding that Mr Khan wanted to drag the country towards civil war.

He alleged that the PTI chief wanted the military operation in North Waziristan to fail. “What message we are sending to our brave soldiers who are sacrificing their lives for our security and the nation.”

The minister also criticised the performance of the PTI-led government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. “At least show us some window through which we can see a new Pakistan in KP,” he said, referring to PTI’s slogan of “new Pakistan”.

He said Mr Khan had himself failed his party’s government in KP by running it through SMSs from his Bani Gala residence in Islamabad.

In reply to a question, the PML-N leader said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif would soon meet leaders of “democratic parties”. (Courtesy: Dawn)