National Assembly Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf has urged all political factions to unite in dialogue, expressing concerns that incessant dredging up of past disputes was hindering the nation’s progress.
He pointed out that the political leadership must keep in mind the consequences of the ongoing predicaments. “Despite the passage of 75-76 years, the country has not been able to stand on its own feet,” he lamented during an interview with a private news channel.
The comments of the NA speaker were in response to a query regarding the 2017 Faizabad sit-in, specifically whether all participants and facts should be revealed.
Asked about the appropriateness of demanding accountability from former military officials, Ashraf said the practice of continually dissecting and disputing the past would stunt the march towards progress. “You won’t be able to move forward one inch.”
Highlighting the unproductive tendency for revisiting past controversies every couple of years, he said the habit was far from beneficial and pointed out that only forward-looking nations can progress.“This practice is not right where after every two or three years you open an issue of the past. Nations which have progressed are forward-looking people.”
In his capacity as the speaker, he reiterated that his persistent belief was for consultations, a gathering of minds and the initiation of inter-party dialogue.
NA Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf further criticised the habit of raking up past controversies and remaining tongue-tied when they occurred. Succumbing to such silence, he added, was cowardice. “A living nation calls out a wrong action when it is being committed.”
He regretted that issues keep resurfacing after five years and those who had previously presented differing stances would revise their narratives.
This, he warned, was resulting in national disorientation and the propagation of animosity. It’s high time for intra-party dialogue to be instituted, and a fresh social contract should be developed, incorporating contributions from all stakeholders, he added.
The NA speaker stressed that matters concerning the military should be handled privately, behind closed doors, rather than in the public eye or on social media platforms. He suggested that publicising such issues only aids the nation’s adversaries.
When questioned about President Dr Arif Alvi’s performance, Ashraf highlighted that the presidential role was the supreme constitutional office in Pakistan.
“There must have been compelling reasons for the perception to evolve that he (Alvi) represents the PTI more than the presidency. It’s not a constructive impression, and he should avoid this,” Ashraf said.
Regarding the announcement of the election date, Ashraf expressed that it would have been preferable for the political parties to settle the issue independently, rather than involving the Supreme Court.
Nonetheless, he said he has to accept the court’s judgment on the matter, given that the apex court holds the highest constitutional authority in the country for legal interpretation and rulings.