ISLAMABAD – Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has clarified that his recent meeting with Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar had nothing to do with politics.
Tons of speculations erupted following the high profile meeting at a time when ruling party’s leaders were handed strict punishments by the courts.
The prime minister speaking at a meeting of the federal cabinet on Wednesday said that the government did not want any confrontation with any state institutions, including the judiciary, a participant told The Nation, adding that Abbasi told ministers that meeting was not political.
“The meeting was aimed at discussing some issues that have already been shared with the media. The opposition may extract from the meeting whatever they want,” the media outlet quoted the cabinet member as saying.
Among approvals for other projects, the cabinet approved signing of a treaty on transfer of sentenced persons between the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and Peoples Republic of China.
On Tuesday evening, PM Abbasi held an extraordinary two-hour long one-on-one meeting with the chief justice at latter’s chamber in Supreme Court of Pakistan’s (SC) building.
In a statement issued by the Supreme Court’s Public Relation Officer, it said that the meeting was scheduled on the request of Prime Minister Abbasi through Attorney General, adding that the premier assured full support to improve the judicial system.
It said that though the meeting was held in a pleasant environment, the premier informed the chief justice about the issues federal board of revenue and tax department is facing ‘on account of pendency of litigation involving revenue in different Courts’.
“The chief justice assured the Prime Minister that he will look into the matter and such litigation shall be fast-tracked,” the statement said. “The Honourable Prime Minister also informed the Honourable Chief Justice that the Council of Common Interest (CCI) had approved the water policy which will help in the fruition of Honourable Chief Justice’s efforts in that direction.”
The Supreme Court said that PM Abbasi pledged full support for public interest litigation initiatives undertaken by the chief justice.
The sources privy to the development said case hearings against Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader Nawaz Sharif were not discussed in the meeting. Prime Minister Abbasi apprised the chief justice on the issues executive is facing due to certain observations by the courts.
Earlier, the premier arrived at the Supreme Court building without security protocol where he was received by the chief justice.
The apex court building saw a sudden influx of local security officials and a cordon was put in place shortly before seven o’clock. Prime Minister Abbasi arrived at the court without his official security protocol.
He was welcomed at the judge’s gate by the chief justice.
Sources said the meeting was held at the request of PM Abbasi while an official press release is expected to be issued soon by the SC’s information department.
Last month, the prime minister took the PML-N’s row with the judiciary to the parliament and called for an ultimate debate as to who has the final say in legislation.
He had criticised the judicial activism, alleging that it was badly affecting the functioning of his government.
Responding to those remarks, the CJP had said: “Parliament is supreme but there is also the Constitution above it.”