AGP Shehzad Elahi issues clarification on CJP Bandial's 'honest PM' remark
Shehzad Elahi says observations of CJP seem to have been misconstrued and misstated on social media
ISLAMABAD (Dunya News) – Attorney General of Pakistan Shehzad Ata Elahi has issued clarification after Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial’s remark about the country’s “honest prime minister” in a case were taken out of context and manipulated on social media.
On Feb 9, the top judge heard a petition of former prime minister and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan, challenging amendments to the National Accountability (NAB) Ordinance by the coalition government. During the hearing, the chief justice gave positive remarks about former premier Muhammad Khan Junejo. However, the echoes of his remarks were heard during a session of Senate on Feb 10 when PML-N Senator Irfanul Haq Siddiqui expressed concerns over the remarks.
“The chief justice has called only one prime minister honest who is probably Muhammad Khan Junejo. Who gave him the merit to declare everyone from Liaquat Ali Khan to Imran Khan dishonest,” he said.
The attorney general in a letter to Federal Law Minister Azam Nazir Tarar said, “It was also inadvertently and erroneously believed without verification by some Hon'ble Parliamentarians who commented critically about the same on 10.02.2023. On 11.02.2023 their views were being reported widely in the national press”.
“On Feb 9, 2023 an incorrect version of certain observations by the Hon'ble Chief Justice of Pakistan ("HCJP") made that day during the proceedings of Constitution Petition No. 21/2022 titled 'Imran Ahmed Khan Niazi v. Federation of Pakistan' circulated on social media platforms.”
Clarifying that he was present in court room during the proceedings, he said: “Certain observations were made by the HCJP in the context of the non-restoration of the National Assembly by the Supreme Court in 1988 after its dissolution”.
The chief justice mentioned how in 1993 the then CJP had, in the case of Muhammad Nawaz Sharif Vs. President of Pakistan, regretted the non-restoration of the National Assembly in 1988.
On the other hand, the social media reported that CJP Bandial had questioned the honesty of the prime ministers of the country.
“As I was personally present in the court during these proceedings, I can confirm to you that no such observation was made. In fact, the HCJP had recalled the regret expressed by the then Chief Justice of Pakistan (Justice Nasim Hassan Shah) in 1993 in the aforementioned case,” reads the letter.
The CJP went on to comment on the then deposed Prime Minister of Pakistan (Mr Muhammad Khan Junejo) being a very good and independent man who was removed though Article 58(2)(b).
The attorney general said the observations of the CJP seemed to have been misconstrued and misstated in the social media as “if in the history of Pakistan only one Prime Minister [Mr. Muhammad Khan Junejo) was honest”.
“However, no remark to this effect was made by the HCJP on 09.02.2023. Nevertheless, an incorrect narrative about the HCJP's observations was circulated on social media,” he maintained.
AGP Shehzad Ealhi asked the law minister to share the correct facts with parliamentarians for setting the record straight.