PPP, civil society protest SC’s order to arrest PM

Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry

LAHORE: Members of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and civil society took to the street on Tuesday against the Supreme Court’s (SC) order to arrest Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf  when Tahirul Qadri’s sit-in was ongoing in Islamabad.

The protesters expressed displeasure with the SC’s order and termed it a “grand conspiracy against democracy”.They said it is “clear now that Tahirul Qadri and Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry’s agendas meet somewhere”.The PPP workers, who were from the party’s Human Rights Wing, Minorities Wing and Women’s Wing, held a protest demonstration against the court’s order at the Lahore Press Club.PPP Human Rights Wing Secretary General Sheikh Mansoor, Lahore Women’s Wing President Tasneem Chaudhry and Minorities Wing leader Napoleon Qayyum led the demonstration.

Demonstrators were carrying party flags and portraits of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Benazir Bhutto, President Asif Ali Zardari, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and PM Raja Pervez Ashraf.They raised slogans against the court’s order, declaring the verdict a “biased” order. They also raised slogans against Tehreek-e-Minhajul Quran chief Tahirul Qadri.Addressing the gathering, PPP leaders said the Supreme Court was “victimising the PPP government and its leaders and hearing only those cases which were against the ruling party”.

The protesters said that any parliamentarian could not be arrested without permission of the National Assembly speaker “so how can the Supreme Court order NAB directly to arrest an elected prime minister?”They said the Supreme Court should have given orders to the National Assembly speaker if it considered necessary to arrest the prime minister in the rental power case.Terming the SC’s order a “conspiracy against democracy”, PPP leaders urged the nation to stand and defend the democratic system in the country and defeat such conspiracies.

The SC’s order to arrest PM (CSNP) also held a peaceful demonstration in support of democracy at Charing Cross, outside the Punjab Assembly. CSNP members were carrying placards inscribed with statements against the SC’s decision and Tahirul Qadri’s long march.CSNP representatives Abdullah Malik, Amina Malik, BG and Sheeba Butt led the protest while some of the PPP leaders, including Diwan Muhayuddin, Dr Hasnat Shah, Raja Abdur Rehman and Afnan Butt, also participated in it.Abdullah Malik said that although they had always respected the Supreme Court’s decisions, its order to arrest the PM was “partial, condemnable and a conspiracy against democracy in the country”.

He said that progressive and democratic elements of the country would not endorse such decisions in any case and they would protect all democratic institutions. He also declared the demands of Tahirul Qadri and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan “unconstitutional”. He said that constitutional institutions of the country should give time to the government to complete its constitutional tenure of five years in the greater interest of the nation. – DailyTimes