Defence Minister Khawaja Asif on Friday termed veteran lawyer Aitzaz Ahsan a “traitor”.
The defence minister, in a veiled reference to Ahsan, said a “popular Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader” rapping the recent acquittal of the Sharifs by linking it to COAS Bajwa’s alleged intercession was a long-time traitor. “He was the first person to have abandoned former prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. He tasted success for the first time in a rigged election (during the Ziaul Haq) regime.
Asif made the comments while speaking to journalists at an Islamabad presser. He said he was leading the conference in place of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif who was unable to make it due to other commitments. Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb, Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal and former Punjab home minister Attaullah Tarar were also present on the occasion.
Aitzaz had told journalists earlier this week that COAS Bajwa had committed a great crime by ensuring that members of the Sharif family were acquitted. “The cases against Nawaz, Shehbaz and Maryam were concluded after (COAS) Bajwa intervened. He has committed a great crime,” he said. The lawyer went on to term amendments in the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Ordinance “political engineering”.
The PPP, which Aitzaz is associated with, has been unsparing too.
Rana Farooq, the acting president of the party in the Punjab, told journalists on Wednesday that Aitzaz had become an inextricable part of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan’s plan to derail democracy. He said Aitzaz had only used politics to enrich himself and further his personal interests.
The PPP Punjab acting president also spoke about how Aitzaz had betrayed the PPP time and again. He said the veteran lawyer had ditched the PPP for rival party Tehreek-e-Istiqlal in the 1970s when trouble started brewing for Bhutto. He also supported the movement for the restoration of the judiciary. Aitzaz, Farooq said, was silent when PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari was jailed in NAB cases during Imran’s stint in office and chairman Bilawal Bhutto was framed in false cases.
Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah said the same day that Aitzaz had not been nabbed in connection with comments since he was mentally unsound. He made the comments in an interview with a private TV channel. Questioned why PTI Senator Azam Swati had been arrested on his tweets attacks tweeting COAS Bajwa while Aitzaz had not been meted out similar treatment, Sanaullah said talked a lot of bunkum.
“He used to be a gifted lawyer. But whoever he now represents is doomed,” Sanaullah said. He said Geo had gotten a taste of this for six months. Told Aitzaz was now representing ARY, Sanaullah said this spelled trouble for it.