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Government, PML-N in talks over changes to 18th Amendment: minister

Says the party wants cases against Nawaz quashed

SAMAA | - Posted: May 2, 2020 | Last Updated: 2 years ago
Posted: May 2, 2020 | Last Updated: 2 years ago

The PML-N will support changes in the 18th Amendment if the cases against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and brother Shehbaz Sharif are quashed, claimed Federal Minister Sheikh Rasheed Saturday.

“Ministers are talking to the leaders of the opposition,” Rasheed, the minister for railways, told SAMAA TV anchorperson Amber Shamsi. “The PML-N will support the government if cases against Nawaz Sharif are quashed.”

The minister claimed that the PML-N is also seeking an end to cases against Maryam and Shehbaz in exchange for its support to amendments to the 18th Amendment.

“I am saying it with responsibility that the opposition has had a meeting with Asad Umar,” said the minister. “I am a minister and I can only give you a hint that negotiations are underway.”

The PML-N also wants amendments in the NAB law and if it doesn’t happen then it won’t support the changes to the 18th Amendment either, added Rasheed.

The 18th Amendment, passed in 2010, gives the provinces greater autonomy under the constitution. At least 16 departments were transferred from the federal government to the provincial governments under the amendment.

It also removed the power of the president to unilaterally dissolve the Parliament, turning Pakistan from a semi-presidential to a parliamentary republic.

The PML-N, however, rejected Rasheed’s remarks. Rana Sanaullah, an  influential party leader, said in a statement that his party won’t support any changes to the 18th Amendment.

He, however, confirmed that the PML-N was in talks with PM Khan’s government over the NAB law. “Sheikh Rasheed doesn’t know anything and he just likes to talk.”

Change in information ministry

Describing the change in the information minister as a “better choice”, the railways minister said new Information Minister Senator Shibli Faraz will be the government’s face on TV and Lt Gen (retired) Asim Saleem Bajwa will be working from behind the screen.

“I think there’s no better choice than it,” Rasheed said.

On April 27, the government had removed Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan as PM Khan’s special assistant on information and replaced her with former ISPR DG Bajwa. Senator Faraz was appointed as the new information minister.

“There is a case and also a face,” Rasheed said. “Shibli is PTI’s face that the PTI likes and there is a case of Bajwa behind it who has training so now there will be a man on screen and people working behind the screen,” he added.

“He [Bajwa] is experienced. Shibli doesn’t have experience. He will just be a face on TV because Bajwa can’t come on TV and give statements because he remained lieutenant general. He could work [behind] the screen and fix the structure and bring reforms.”

A few days after her removal as PM Khan’s special assistant, Dr Awan accused the premier’s Principal Secretary Azam Khan of influencing the ministries and claimed he was responsible for sudden changes in the information ministry.

Rasheed, however, thinks that Dr Awan should observe silence for some time.

“Firdous Ashiq Awan is openly hurling accusations,” the minister said. “She should wait. Perhaps she will be accommodated somewhere.”
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18th amendment, PML, PTI, Nawaz Sharif

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