Apr 092013

The caretaker interior minister Malik Habib Khan may have landed himself in hot water when during an interview he allegedly gave statements about Nawaz Sharif and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N). A number of political parties were offended by his comments demanded that action be taken him.

According to a local newspaper, Khan during an interview said that Nawaz Sharif was the only true national leader and that he had been voting for the PML-N in the past.

Soon after, the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) demanded that action be taken against the interior minister.

PPP leader Sumsam Bukhari said that impartiality of the interim government and election commission guaranteed the transparency of the elections. By giving such a statement, the interior minister had shown his biasness, he said.

Furthermore, Bukhari demanded that the caretaker prime minister should take notice of the interior minister’s statements and remove him as he no longer remained impartial. The PPP leader further said that if the minister believed that Nawaz Sharif was the only true leader in Pakistan then he should probably run the election campaign for the PML-N chief himself.

The PPP leader added that his party would consider every constitutional way to lodge its protest including moving a reference with the ECP to remove Khan from his office.

PTI leader Shafqat Mehmood said that the basic requirement for the caretaker government was impartiality. Such controversial statements from the interior minister, Mehmood said, had shown his inclination towards one particular party which made his impartiality doubtful.

Mehmood demanded that minister step down from his post voluntarily.

Muttahida Qoumi Movement (MQM) leader Raza Haroon said that such statements could raise questions on the election process.

Haroon, however, did not outright call for Khan’s ouster. “It is the responsibility of the prime minister to take any decision to ensure free and fair elections by taking action against his appointees who are biased and partial,” he said.

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