MARDAN - Former prime minister and senior leader of Pakistan Peoples’ Party Raja Pervez Ashraf on Saturday called for extending tenure of special military courts to root out militancy and extremism from the country.

He was talking to media persons in Mardan, after expressing condolence with Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP) Senator Khanzada Khan on the demise of his brother-in-law.

The former prime minister said that security forces had rendered enormous sacrifices in the war against terrorism in the country. However, he said, performance of civilian governments in this regard was questionable. He said extending tenure of the special military courts was in best interest of the country and the nation. He alleged that the civilian government failed to implement the National Action Plan (NAP) in letter and spirit.

Raja Pervez Ashraf also demanded that the nation should be told about reality of ‘Panama papers’. He said PPP would take to street on the issue of ‘Panama papers’ at suitable time. He said PPP leaders always faced National Accountability Bureau (NAB), Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and court after allegations of corruption was levelled against them. However, when their opponents are accused of corruption, there are terms of reference made for them.

He added that in 2009, when PPP came into power through general elections, no one could dare to wave Pakistani flag in Malakand and Swat and 25 million people had to migrate from the area due to militancy. “The high judiciary was also against the government at the time”, he alleged. However, despite all these challenges, the PPP run the government in a better way, gave provincial autonomy to small provinces and restored the 1973’s constitution in its original shape, Pervez Ashraf maintained. He added that at that time 22 million tons of wheat was being imported from other countries but due to the policy of then PPP government, Pakistan started exporting wheat to other countries. He said relations with Afghanistan and Iran were also improved and gas pipeline agreement was signed with Iran. He added that other several initiatives were taken in the better interest of the nation and country.

In response to a question about PPP decision regarding electing Asif Ali Zardari and Bilawal Bhutto to the National Assembly, the former prime minister said his party believed in supremacy of parliament and constitution and with the entrance of Asif Ali Zardari and Bilawal Bhutto in the parliament, the institution would become stronger. He added that if the parliament becomes stronger all other institutions of the country would also become stronger.

“Powerful parliament gave 1973 constitution to the country”, he argued. He added that presently Pakistan had been isolated in the world. He said it was need of the time that the government should appoint a permanent foreign minister. Raja Pervez Ashraf rejected the claims that PPP was limited to Sindh only, instead claimed that Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) was limited to Punjab and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) was limited to Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP) only.   

Raja Pervez Ashraf said Bilawal Bhutto would start his public campaign on 5th January from Hyderabad. He claimed that in the upcoming general elections PPP would get majority in the country and in all the provinces.