Defence Minister Khawaja Asif stated that the ruling coalition will not take dictation from any other constitutional institution, questioning whether it is the Supreme Court’s role to set the agenda for political debate.
The defence minister’s remarks came after the Supreme Court ordered the embattled ruling and opposition political parties to reach an agreement on the date of elections as soon as possible.
The directions were issued after the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) told the Supreme Court that they would sit down with the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) to try to reach an agreement on the election date. The PTI’s Shah Mahmood Qureshi has also given the court assurances.
“Politicians can set the agenda for discussions.” “Why are we being dictated to?” said the PML-N leader on Thursday’s News show “Aaj Shahzeb Khanzada Kay Saath.”
Asif ruled out funding the Punjab provincial assembly election, claiming that the parliament had prohibited the government from doing so.
“Parliament is the highest constitutional institution, and it has rejected the decision to release the funds,” he went on to clarify.
“We, as parliamentarians, have to guard our authority […] we will not take dictation from any other constitutional institution,” the minister stated. We are appearing before the Supreme Court with respect for its authority. We do not respect the 3-2 ruling because we believe the 4-3 decision to be definitive.”
He further stated that the PML-N parliamentary leaders had agreed to meet with the PTI after Eid ul Fitr.
“The Facilitators’ second group is attempting to impose Imran Khan on the masses once more, but we will not allow it.” We are not in a personal feud […] all of this is happening because politics has infiltrated the Supreme Court,” Asif explained.
He questioned why other constitutional institutions should suffer because of the Supreme Court’s internal disagreements, noting that the Constitution does not only mention 90 days, but also that elections must be held on the same day.
According to the minister, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly was also dissolved along with the Punjab Assembly. He claimed that the Punjab elections were being emphasised solely for the purpose of establishing a government that would rig the federal elections.