Here’s what’s happening across the border: The ‘N’ is out of the PML-N, the oldest parliamentarian retires, and a Sufi saint goes political.
The ‘N’ is out of PML-N
Pakistani Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said Saturday that his party, the Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N), had accepted the Supreme Court decision to disqualify party supremo and former PM Nawaz Sharif from holding public office for life.
Abbasi made this announcement during the inauguration of a 45 km section of a national highway near Bahawalpur, Radio Pakistan reported.
“Political decisions should be made through polling booths, and not courts. We accept the top court’s decision to disqualify Nawaz Sharif from public office,” Abbasi said.
At the same time, Abbasi also took on two former Pakistani presidents Pervez Musharraf and Asif Ali Zardari, saying that despite remaining in power, they had done nothing to improve the condition of the people.
“Previous governments would start projects but would not finish them. The PML-N government has finished all pending development projects,” he claimed.
Bidding farewell to another politician
It’s not just former premier Sharif whom the PML-N bid farewell to this week. The last serving member of the National Assembly who signed the 1973 constitution, Muhammad Nazeer Sultan, announced his retirement Friday.
The Speaker of the house, Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, gave accolades to the only parliamentarian with the honour of having his name on the constitution document, while remarking that the house was not pleased with the parliamentarian’s decision to retire.
Sultan then took the floor to talk about his experience of drafting the Pakistani constitution, the Express Tribune reported.
“I am delighted to be the lone lawmaker in the current national assembly to be bestowed with the honour to sign the constitution. This is the end of my political career as I announce retirement,” he said.
He added that his son would contest elections in in his place the upcoming general elections.
Constitution Day is observed across the country on 10 April. On this day in 1973, the constituent assembly passed the constitution, which featured laws based on the fundamental ideological principles of the Islamic Republic and enshrined the rights and duties of the people towards the country.
Most revered Sufi saint flexes political muscle
The family of Pakistan’s most revered Sufi saint, referred to as Pir Pagara (the turbaned holy man), is criss-crossing Sindh, rallying his million disciples ahead of July’s national elections.
According to the Express Tribune, the Pir, Sibghatullah Shah, has invited all political parties and leaders to join his Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA) to contest in the upcoming elections with “one symbol from one platform”.
The Pir has alleged that the incumbent government had rigged the 2013 general election, and that this new party is a way of registering protest.
In his hometown of Pir Jo Goth, his sons are pledging electricity and sewerage to his followers in exchange for votes. And if anyone doubts their commitment do the deal, they accuse him of disloyalty, deny the charge, and raise their arms and shout: “Blessings on the turbaned one!”
Nearly 200 children dead in Sindh
Ten more children have lost their lives at the Civil Hospital Mithi in the Tharparkar district of the Sindh province, due to malnutrition and an outbreak of viral infection, the Dawn reported Saturday. With these deaths, the number of children who have died in the last one year in this district has risen to 190.
Parents of the children have cited the lack of good medical facilities and non-availability of drugs in nearby health units as the reason for the escalating death toll.
They also complain that they have to travel hundreds of miles in the scorching heat to bring their sick children to Mithi, due to which the condition of the children deteriorates further.
According to one of the doctors at the hospital, the facility continues to function under duress, with families piled outside its premises waiting to see a doctor or a nurse.