LAHORE - PML-N Secretary General Ahsan Iqbal said Saturday that government was victimising the opposition instead of taking measures for smooth sailing of draft law relating to the service of chief of army staff.

Addressing a press conference at PML-N secretariat in Model Town, he said the treasury needed opposition’s cooperation to make the required amendment.

Flanked by Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, Pervaiz Malik and Azma Zahid Bokhari, Ahsan said that Prime Minister Imran Khan was leading a whole barrage of ministers to unleash a scathing attack against opposition, which will only increase hostility between the treasury and opposition. He accused the government of trying to hide inefficiency behind the issue of extension to COAS and politicizing a national institution in the process. He said the army and COAS were not just of PTI but the whole nation. Ahsan said it was PM’s discretion to grant extension to army chief, but it has to be within proper rules and regulations. In fact, he said, the government had made a mockery of the issue as Supreme Court rectified many of its errors embarrassing itself and the country at international level.

When asked about PML-N’s policy on legislation on COAS service rules as per Supreme Court’s order, he said party would review detailed judgment and take decision after proper consultation to play its constitutional role in the parliament. He said government’s irresponsible statements on China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) made the project controversial at international level, which was reflected in a strong response from United States Assistant Secretary Alice Wells. He also questioned PTI’s wisdom in appointing Lt Gen (retd) Asim Saleem Bajwa as Chairman of CPEC Authority for four years through an ordinance, which expires after 120 days. He said that the government had now been trying to create a chaos on the issue of appointment of Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) before incumbent’s expiry of tenure on December 6, which was aimed at making the body dysfunctional to escape from foreign funding case. He regretted that the PM was not serious in evolving a national consensus on the appointment of CEC despite the fact Opposition Leader in National Assembly had written a letter with a recommendation of three names for appointment.

He said that PTI government had made massive reshuffle of over 100 administrative officials including chief secretary, secretaries of all important departments and inspector general of police in a matter of days, which also reflected a consistent trend throughout its 15 months in the saddle. “It will create more uncertainty in the minds of administrative officials already working under constant fear of victimization, which has hampered the official work badly,” he said. He also sees malafide in the appointment of former IG Railways Wajid Zia, who headed the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) in Panama case, as Director General of Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) in order to further victimize leaders of the opposition.

He said that government was only conducting investigation in PML-N’s “successful projects” in order to target the opposition, saying that there was no probe in PTI’s “unsuccessful projects” such as the white elephant of Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) Peshawar, devaluation of currency and scandal of hike in medicine prices leading to removal of Federal Health Minister, whose case was never referred to National Accountability Bureau (NAB).