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Govt rejects PTI's demand for ISI and MI on judicial commission

11 November, 2014

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ISLAMABAD: The government on Monday rejected the demand of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf to include officials of the Military Intelligence and Inter Services Intelligence in the committee it proposed to investigate alleged rigging of the last year's general elections. “This demand is unlawful and unconstitutional,” the minister said while addressing a joint press conference with Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid. Dar said the government is already implementing almost all the PTI suggestions about inquiry into the 2013 elections and evolving a transparent mechanism for future elections. He asked what is left for talks after all this. However, he added, if the PTI wants to talk, it must have an agenda for talks, adding that on his return from Dubai, he was approached by PTI's top leadership for resumption of talks which he accepted, but later Imran Khan narrated a different story in his speech in Rahim Yar Khan. Ishaq Dar said that no one from the agencies could be included in the judicial commission. The judicial commission, he added, could only comprise of judges of the Supreme Court, however, and officials of security agencies cannot be included in it. “The talk of including ISI and MI officials in the judicial commission is surprising,” Dar exclaimed. Dar added that even if the government wanted to form a commission in accordance with Imran's demands, it could not. “The court, not government, gives the names of judges for the judicial commission.” Dar said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had already written a letter to the Supreme Court Registrar for the formation of the commission. Dar asked how could the fate of 242 members of parliament can be decided on the basis of mere allegations of rigging in 30 constituencies. He said that as per the constitution, a judicial commission only comprises judges and the government will not do anything in violation of the constitution. He said nominating members of a judicial commission is the prerogative of the chief justice, and the government cannot propose nominees. The finance minister said the government was still willing to hold purposeful talks with PTI Chairman Imran Khan, and has no intention of calling them off. He said the government had met with the PTI leaders approximately fifteen times and that the option of holding negotiations had been taken of the table by the PTI. Dar also said that the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) had always worked towards electoral reforms, and the PTI should do the same. “There is neither rule of jungle nor any monarchy (in the country),” the minister said, adding that the government was bound to follow the law and constitution and cannot accept any unconstitutional demand. Meanwhile, Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid said that Imran Khan has been levelling allegations for the past 17 months but failed to provide any proof. He said that the petition questioning the 2013 general elections has been rejected as a mere allegation by the Supreme Court. “If Imran has any proof of rigging he should make it public,” the minister said emphatically. “If he has proofs about his allegation of printing of ballot papers from Urdu Bazzar he should make them public,” he said. Dar said that law secretary had on August 13 written to the Supreme Court registrar under the 1956 Inquiry Act for constituting a commission to probe the alleged polls rigging and it was suggested that a three-member commission may be set up to probe the matter and fix responsibility. He said that formation of a judicial commission was the prerogative of the Supreme Court “and if the wish of Imran Khan is fulfilled and personnel from intelligence agencies are included in the commission, it would not be called a judicial commission, rather it would be a Joint Investigating Team.

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