Thursday, June 1, 2023

Pak minister hits out at Prez, asks him to unshackle himself from Imran’s ‘slavery’

Pakistan’s Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah on Saturday tore into Arif Alvi for showing reluctance in administering oaths to cabinet members and not falling in line with the new dispensation, saying the president should unshackle himself from ex-prime minister Imran Khan’s “slavery”.
The minister’s statement comes in response to the delay in administering the oath to the chief minister of Punjab by the governor of the province and also by the failure of President Alvi to appoint a representative for the purpose.
Sanaullah asserted that Alvi was bound by the Constitution to perform his duty as the president rather than act upon the dictates of Khan, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman, The Express Tribune reported.
He asked the president to stop using the pretext of falling sick and to either discharge his duties or resign from his post.
Sanaullah said the president should discharge his constitutional responsibilities and unshackle himself from Khan’s “slavery”, the report said.
The minister stressed that the country would be run according to the Constitution and not at Khan’s whims. “The office of president is a constitutional post which is above politics. When it comes to performing constitutional obligations, the president along with the governors and other PTI associates fall sick,” he rued.
Alvi has been reluctant in administering oaths since the ouster of Khan as the prime minister of Pakistan. He first refused to administer the oath to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and later to his cabinet.
Prime Minister Sharif’s 34-member Cabinet — a mix of experience and fresh blood — was sworn in on Tuesday after several days of delay, with Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani administering the oath to new ministers after President Alvi once again excused himself from the ceremony.
The ceremony was scheduled to be held on Monday, but President Alvi refused to administer the oath to the lawmakers, compelling the government to postpone it.
Alvi, a member of ousted premier Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party, went on ‘sick’ leave ahead of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader’s inauguration.
President Alvi agreed to administer the oaths to four ministers on Friday following a meeting with the prime minister. He, however, refused to appoint a representative to arrange the oath to the prime minister’s son Hamza Shehbaz as the chief minister of Punjab on Saturday, despite an order from the Lahore High Court.
The interior minister also deplored the ongoing constitutional crisis in Punjab.
The president should meet his constitutional obligation and immediately nominate a person to administer the oath to the newly-elected chief minister, he said.
“The order of Lahore High Court (LHC) is being continuously violated after defying the Supreme Court directives,” the minister said, adding that the provincial government was functioning with the crucial chief ministerial chair lying empty and in the absence of cabinet members for the last 21 days.
The power struggle in Punjab turned acrimonious when the newly-appointed Punjab Governor Omer Sarfraz Cheema on April 17, a day after the election of the chief minister, refused to administer the oath to chief minister-elect Hamza on the grounds that the legality of the election had come under question.
In a move to end the political crisis, Prime minister Sharif immediately sacked the governor, only to face another hindrance as the president allowed the governor to continue in office.


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