Omar schools Asif on ‘harsh’ remarks

From Zeeshan Mirza

KARACHI: Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Omar Ayub called on Tuesday Defense Minister Khawaja Asif’s “personal remarks” about Field Marshal Ayub Khan – Ayub’s grandfather – “unwarranted”.
The PTI leader said, “Ayub Khan is part of history, and it is up to us how we see actions [of history] or what we do with them.”
Ayub further informed NA Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq that the minister criticized his family in a lan-guage unsuited to the parliament.
A day earlier, Khawaja Asif supported the opposition’s suggestion to hold trials for those involved in subverting the Constitution under Article 6, starting with former dictator Ayub Khan.
“Ayub Khan was the first to violate his oath. He toppled a democratic government. He is the root cause of all the chaos that we are facing today. Therefore, Article 6 should be invoked; his dead body should be exhumed from the grave and be hanged,” the minister asserted.
The opposition leader responded that it was a historic fact that martial law was imposed by Iskander Mirza. Following Ayub’s repeated condemnation of Asif’s remarks, NA Speaker Ayaz Sadiq intervened to tell the PTI leader that his speech was going in the “wrong direction”.
At the outset of today’s proceedings, PTI leader Asad Qaiser, ex-NA speaker, denounced Asif’s behav-iour towards Sadiq. “I condemn how he addressed you.”
Emphasizing that the role of the NA speaker was “highly respectable”, the PTI leader said Asif should have “shown tolerance” as he has been in the house for years.
“He is an 80-year-old elderly man [so] he should at least have some etiquette,” he added.
PTI leader Ali Muhammad Khan touched up martial laws imposed by generals Pervez Musharraf and Zia-ul-Haq. He spoke of Nawaz Sharif’s arrest and exile, the hanging of PPP founder Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, and the assassinations of former premiers Benazir Bhutto and Liaquat Ali Khan.
Ali Muhammad condemned the arrest of PTI founder Imran Khan and the restrictions on meeting him in Adiala jail. “I was hoping this house would stand up for its former leader,” he said.
PTI leader added: “Quaid-i-Azam in his address said the armed forces were the servants of the people of Pakistan. They do not hold the power to make a national policy. There is no place for brokering or dealing to bring political parties together.”
Khan further stated that his grandfather was a colleague of Quaid-e-Azam who took part in the Paki-stan Movement. He regretted his presence in Ayub Khan’s cabinet.
“We all have to admit our mistakes. Imran is being punished the way every Pakistani who tried to make independent policies is being punished. We will respect if you stay within the limit, but will pro-test when you come this way,” said the PTI leader.
Targeting the opposition, member NA and PPP leader Qadir Patel said the PTI lawmakers were warned by us when we were in opposition to abide by the Constitution as the situation could turn around any day.
“I have seen the opposition parties’ circumstances change in just as much time as the weather would. You (PTI) must not indulge in practices that lead to no one taking you seriously,” said Patel.
He said, “If the PTI claims former first lady Bushra Bibi’s incarceration’s illegal and the case against her bogus then they must also accept the illegal detention of PPP’s Faryal Talpur.”
The PPP leader added, “We will stand with you if you accept your mistake. Accept that NAB was used for arm-twisting, and opposition leaders from President Asif Ali Zardari to Khursheed Shah were illegal-ly detained. The PTI were earlier supported by someone who they now criticize.”