In a strongly worded letter Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, on Sunday (March 26) responded to President Dr Arif Alvi’s letter which was sent to him two days ago. The PM said that the president’s letter was “blatantly partisan” and in parts read like “a press release” of the opposition political party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).
This was stated in reference to a letter sent by Alvi to Sharif, on Friday, asking him to direct federal and provincial authorities to assist the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to hold elections in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The request was reportedly in line with the Supreme Court’s orders to “avoid further complications”.
The president also mentioned the “use of disproportionate force” by authorities against politicians, party workers and journalists amid recent clashes with former prime minister Imran Khan’s PTI. This prompted PM Sharif to respond and “set the record of the government straight” while accusing President Alvi of constantly espousing “one-sided, anti-government views…notwithstanding your constitutional oath/office of President”.
He accused Alvi of violating his oath of office on several occasions including the order of the dissolution of the National Assembly on April 3, last year, following “illegal instructions” by the former PM Imran Khan which the Supreme Court days later also declared unconstitutional. PM Sharif also accused the president of “failure to discharge” his constitutional duty citing clause (5) of Article 91 to “call upon me to assume the office of the Prime Minister and administer the oath of office.”
He added, “Despite the foregoing and several other instances, where you actively worked towards undermining a constitutionally elected government, I have made all-out efforts to maintain a good working relationship with you. However, the contents of your letter, its tone, and language have compelled me to respond to it.”
The Pakistan PM addressing the country’s president also stated, “regrettably and ostensibly due to your party allegiance, you have failed to note the sheer isolation of laws, contumacious disregard of court orders, attacking the law enforcement agencies, damaging public property, attempts to create chaos, civil and political unrest, and in short, to bring the country to the brink of economic default and civil war by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-lnsaf (PTI).”
In the letter, Sharif asserted that actions by the authorities were in accordance with the law and that PTI’s complete disregard for the law tarnished the image of Pakistan in the international community. He also called Alvi out for not addressing the former PM’s conduct despite being the president and described Khan’s actions as an “aggressive, rather militant, attitude of a political order in complete defiance of court orders”.
(With inputs from agencies)
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