Avoid irresponsible statements on audio leaks: NA Speaker

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: With leaks of former and incumbent prime minister grabbing headlines on Wednesday prompting a war of words between the government and opposition, National Assembly Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf called for cooler heads to prevail and advised politicians from spouting irresponsible statements.

His comments came after former prime minister and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan and Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif indirectly traded barbs on the audios leaked of each other while they were in the country’s highest public office.

Speaking to the media in Lahore on Wednesday afternoon, Ashraf advised political leaders to maintain decorum while addressing each other and to refrain from issuing irresponsible statements and comments.

He added that all politicians must not create a state of chaos, rather they should move forward with a positive attitude of exiting the crisis. Ashraf said that if politicians behave responsibly, the public will automatically support them.

On the question of when the next general elections would be held, Ashraf – who is aligned with the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) coalition partner Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), said that polls will be held as per the directions contained within the constitution and law. He rejected the idea that it will be held based on any one person’s demand.

Floods and solutions

Noting that the country was already facing flood devastation and did not need another crisis, he called on people to adopt a softer, more love-filled tone. “They should leave all other preoccupations and focus only on helping people get through this time of crisis,” he said.

With regards to the floods, he said that the Kalabagh and Basha and Manji dams should be constructed. However, he quickly added that it was important to first evolve consensus on the subject between all territories and provinces. On Imran is out of govt because allies left He said that Imran Khan today finds himself out of the government because he and his allies pulled their support for him.

“I am not in favor of implementing article six on anyone,” he said in the context of the comments from some quarters for trying the former prime minister under sedition laws. “People must show positive attitude towards each other as the country needs harmony in these trying times.

On accepting or rejecting resignations filed by the member of the house, Ashraf said that as the speaker, it is his duty to ensure that a member has not been forced to resign rather his resignation is voluntary and without external pressure. Even if a member resigns in front of the speaker, the speaker cannot accept the resignation if they know the member is being pressurized.

He said due to Pakistan Tehreek Insaf (PTI) policies, rupee has devalued. Noting that Ishaq Dar is a seasoned politician and has helmed the finance ministry multiple times, he hoped that the financial wizard will be able to pull an economic rabbit out of the hat.

“It is the right of the prime minister to give the post of finance minister to anyone,” he commented.

Ashraf further commented on the involvement of former president and PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari in the country’s politics. “Asif Ali Zardari is a seasoned politician and knows how politics of Pakistan works. When he recovers, he will once again resume his political activities,” he concluded.