LAHORE - PML-Q President Ch Shujaat’s draft bill seeking amendment in Article 6 of the Constitution, purportedly to dilute intensity of the offence of high treason, proved a nonstarter in the very beginning as no political party across the political divide supported the idea .
Even the MQM which has openly sided with Musharraf along with PML-Q in the testing times is indecisive as yet on the issue. Its leader Haider Abbas Rizvi, when contacted by The Nation, said his party would examine the bill in detail and then take a decision. JUI-F leader Jan Achakzai also preferred to take an ambiguous stance on Shujaat’s initiative, saying he would not like to comment on the development at this stage.
With only five senators and two MNAs in PML-Q’s pocket, Shujaat’s bill doesn’t stand even the remotest chance of being passed by the Parliament even if some other parties, including MQM with 24 MNAs and seven senators, back the proposed legislation.
As expected, PPP Secretary General Sardar Latif Khosa said his party would never support a legislation aiming at weakening the democratic institutions. Rejecting the proposed legislation, the PPP leader said: “We don’t want any adventurer to overthrow the elected governments in future taking advantage of a soft provision in the Constitution.
He also said a private bill seeking amendment in the Constitution had never seen light of the day in the country’s legislative history, adding Shujaat’s bill would meet the same fate.
PML-N will also not support the amendment for obvious reasons. Giving his mind on the draft amendment tabled by Shujaat in the Senate on Tuesday, PML-N Information Secretary Mushahidullah Khan said the PLM-Q, which he called a party of the Chaudharys, lacked numeral strength to get the amendment passed by the two houses of the Parliament. “It is not more than a move for political survival of Senator Shujaat,” he remarked. The PML-N leader believed that subversion of the Constitution was a serious offence which merited sentence even more than what had been stipulated for high treason.
Mushahidullah further stated that the proposed amendment by Ch Shujaat was intended to please a person (Pervez Musharraf) and save him from the high treason punishment. “What Ch Shujaat is doing runs contrary to the character of his father, Ch Zahoor Elahi, who always challenged the dictators whether civilian or military and never compromised on the principles,” he observed, adding PNL-N would not support the amendment in Article 6.
Commenting on the development, PTI Chairman Imran Khan, in his news conference in Karachi on Tuesday, termed it yet another NRO in the making, this time for General Musharraf.
Senior JI leader Farid Paracha, when contacted, also opposed the bill. “This is for the first time that Article 6 is being applied to a dictator and all parties should support Musharraf’s trial instead of complicating the matter,” he remarked.