National Assembly (NA) Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf has urged a dialogue between all political entities, expressing concern over the country’s stagnation due to the recurrent rehashing of historical issues. Ashraf made these comments during an interview on Dawn News show Doosra Rukh, set to air tonight at 7 pm.
Ashraf suggested that any issues with the military should be resolved privately behind closed doors, rather than in public or on social media, as the latter only benefits the country’s enemies.
Regarding the calls for accountability of former army officials, Ashraf remarked, “Okay then keep on harping and whining about it. You won’t be able to move forward one inch. This practice is not right, where after every two or three years, you open an issue of the past. Nations which have progressed are forward-looking people.”
When asked about the 2017 Faizabad sit-in and the need for full disclosure of all involved parties and facts, he responded, “I want to say that we have to look at the outcome of whatever has been happening. Even after 75-76 years, we have not been able to stand on our own feet. So we have to think about whether we remain stuck in the past or if there is something we should take a step towards. There is not a lot of distance between the present and the future. I still think to do consultation and sit everyone down [and] open a dialogue. Intra-political party dialogue should be opened.”
Addressing President Dr. Arif Alvi’s performance, he said, “What compulsions were there that this perception emerged that he (Alvi) represents the PTI more than the presidency? So this is not a positive thing, and he should refrain from it.”
Ashraf criticized the repetitive raising of past issues, contrasting it with the silence at the time these events occurred, describing it as “a sign of cowardice.” He expressed concern about the confusion and hate being spread and emphasized the need for an intra-party dialogue and a new social contract involving all stakeholders.
Regarding the announcement of the election date, Ashraf stated that it would have been preferable if political parties had handled the matter themselves, rather than involving the Supreme Court. Nonetheless, he acknowledged the court’s verdict as the highest constitutional authority for legal interpretation and judgments.
Calls for accountability in the Faizabad case
The PML-N, despite earlier distancing itself from the demand for holding those involved in the ouster of Nawaz Sharif from power accountable, seems to be indirectly advocating for it once again. PML-N’s Mian Javed Latif, a prominent figure close to Maryam Nawaz, labeled former Inter Services Intelligence chief Gen Faiz Hamid as the ‘mastermind’ of the 2017 Faizabad sit-in. He demanded the exposure of all those responsible for “ruining the country” before the Feb 8 elections.
Khawaja Asif, another senior PML-N leader, also accused Gen Hamid of masterminding the Faizabad sit-in in a recent TV show. Journalist Absar Alam informed the apex court that certain armed forces personnel were attempting to incite violence during the Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan sit-in, alleging that Gen Faiz Hamid had supported a media outlet when it was ordered to shut down for allegedly inciting violence through live coverage of the Faizabad sit-in.