ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Muhammad Ali Durrani Thursday said that the constitutional clause of 58-2-B had provided a safety valve against the military interventions and there was no proposal under consideration to remove this clause from the constitution. While addressing a joint press conference along with Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Tariq Azeem Khan here at his office, Durrani said “Article 58-2-B has blocked the military interventions in past and facilitated the sustainability of the democratic process. This is also a hurdle in turning of mindset of the democratically-elected politicians’ into autocracy. There is no proposal under consideration to remove this clause from the constitution.”
Minister Durrani said that Article 58-2-B, which empowers the president to dissolve the government and the parliament, was of such significance for the stability of the democratic process that even the opposition had supported this constitutional clause in the passage of 17th Amendment.To a question regarding Benazir Bhutto’s assertion that President Pervez Musharraf should grant immunity to the politicians in those corruption cases which were pending with the courts and were yet to be decided, the Minister said that the courts were the proper platform to decided such cases.
“However, if the political leadership appeals to the president seeking the immunity, the president has the right to grant immunity,” he said. When asked about the reports that the president had made a decision on shedding his uniform, the Minister said that it had been agreed with the PPP in ongoing dialogue that the uniform issue would be decided by the president himself as pre the constitutional provisions. “As per constitution, President Pervez Musharraf can keep on uniform till the year end. President Musharraf has made up his mind over the uniform issue. Let me make it clear that he had made up his mind over the issue months before the dialogues with the PPP. His decision would not be changed in result of any dialogue,” he said.
He said that the president himself had said that the uniform was needed in the year 2002. However, he made it clear that no one else but the president himself has to decide this issue. He reminded the media that the government had majority votes in the parliament and the provincial assemblies while it was taking on the dialogue process with mainstream political parties to create a positive and enabling environment so as the forthcoming presidential and general polls could be held on time. He said the dialogue process aimed at averting any possibility of martial law or emergency in the country.
He urged the political forces to support the government efforts for creating an enabling environment for holding the future polls so that all the apprehensions in this regard could be removed. To another question, the Minister refuted to the claims that 80 percent decisions had been finalized during the government-PPP talks.
“Neither there is any percentage in talks nor there do any deadline for the government. No deadline is accepted in the dialogue process as this is against the spirit of the dialogue process. Either the dialogues are successful or they fail. But there is no percentage as some elements are floating the percentage in the media in this regard,” he said and added that the dialogue process were going smoothly and would bear positive results.
The Minister said that the PML wanted the stability of the political process and nobody should have any doubt in this regard. He said that the PML and its allied parties would face the PPP in the forthcoming elections. “The PML is firm on its stance that the politicians having bleak past are the same individuals and there is no change in their mindset or behavior. They are the same as mindset does not changes by spending some time in exile and the masses would decide their fate in the next elections. However, the government is holding dialogue with the political parties who have the mandate of the people so as an enabling environment could be created for the forthcoming polls,” he said.
He said that President Musharraf was taking the PML and its allied parties on board regarding the dialogue process and there was no ambiguity. Tariq Azeem Khan said that the dialogue process was being conducted with consultation with the ruling PML. On the question over the return of PML-N Chief Mian Nawaz Sharif and his family, Minister Durrani said that the PML-N leader had left the country by requesting a respected personality of a friendly country who played an important role in striking a deal with the government. “The PML-N leader had given an oath that he would not return to Pakistan for 10 years. Now if he breaches his oath, the government would chalk out a strategy to tackle the situation. This strategy would be chalked after Nawaz Sharif announced the date of his return,” he concluded. -SANA