PESHAWAR - Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Arbab Khizer Hayat Khan has asked President Asif Ali Zardari not to malign the superior judiciary.

“Faisal Raza Abidi is maligning the apex court and its chief justice at the behest of his boss Asif Zardari,” Khizer Hayat said in a statement on Friday. He was referring to a recent press conference where Faisal Raza Abidi, a PPP Senator, had unleashed a salvo of accusations against the judiciary, particularly Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry.

Although, the PPP had immediately disowned Abidi’s contemptuous remarks as his personal views, Khizer Hayat claimed that the press conference was arranged on the orders of Zardari as part of the PPP’s strategy to ridicule the judiciary. “It’s ironic that the PPP disowned Senator Abidi’s venomous press conference while the next day PPP legislators in the Sindh Assembly bad-mouthed the chief justice,” Khizer said.

He added that Zardari has used such ugly tactics repeatedly in the past. “Zardari first used Sindh’s former Home Minister Zulfiqar Mirza against his own political ally, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM). Then he used former Federal Law Minister Dr Babar Awan in his dirty battle against our party (PML-N). Now, Zardari is conspiring against the judiciary through Faisal Raza Abidi,” Khizer said.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday last had issued a show-cause notice to Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf for his refusal to write a letter to the Swiss authorities for reopening of a dormant graft case against Zardari in accordance with the apex court ruling on the defunct National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO). Instead it decided to challenge the court order.

The PML-N leader warned that the PPP’s policy of confrontation with the judiciary would have serious consequences for the ruling party.

“The PML-N and the whole nation stand firmly behind the judiciary. We will thwart any conspiracy to undermine the judiciary or to sack any judge of the superior judiciary,” he said. Arbab Khizer said that the judiciary was the last hope for the people and any effort to weaken this institution would jeopardize the very existence of the country.