The former Prime Minister of Pakistan Mian Nawaz Sharif has called his close circle for a discussion at his Jati Umra estate. Present are his younger brother and former Chief Minister of Punjab Mian Shahbaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Safdar, former Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, and former National Assembly Speaker Ayaz Sadiq.
Mian Nawaz Sharif releases a sigh, “Thank God there are some sensible people in our country. Finally sense prevailed to increase the salary of our President Mamnoon Hussain. Indeed, the last sensible thing done by our National Assembly. The poor man got his last pay raise in 2017 of just Rs. 6000,000 allowance per month. What was he getting before that … just Rs.1 million per year!”
“You are right, our dear Mian Nawaz Sahib. Poor Mamnoon Husain is a gentle person. Never utters a word,” agreed former Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi.
“Certainly, we did not write the constitution but the office of president is there. I mean it is simply torture to subject such a meek and humble person to do all the oaths taking.
“Although, due to the unfair ruling the Supreme Court, I am banned from office, and I want, you, Shahbaz Sahib to do all the foundation stones laying and ribbon cutting, but we had to give this job to Mamnoon Hussain too. He would tell me that sometimes he would feel claustrophobic, all the time staying inside the President House … Shahbaz Sahib knows what our father, Abbaji told us that we have to keep everyone happy with us.
“You remember the oldest person to serve as president, Ghulam Ishaq Khan, who took office at 73 years of age, and what he did … he invoked the Eight Amendment and dismissed Benazir’s government after just 20 months, on charges of rampant corruption and misgovernance. When I was leader of the opposition, Benazir accused me of frustrating her government in alliance with Ghulam Ishaq. After I was elected Prime Minister in 1990, Ghulam Ishaq dismissed my government on similar charges three years later. The Supreme Court overturned my dismissal, but the gridlock ultimately led to both of us resigning in 1993.
“You know that although we brought him into the President House, but we have to be careful of these useless and bored people because the 1973 Constitution has given them some powers.
“This is why, especially Imran Khan was doing all the jumping about and shouting to scare me into leaving office, it was so nice to know that we had a silent man in the president’s seat. So I asked you, our Abbasi Sahib, to have the salary increase bill introduced by minister in charge of the cabinet secretariat Sheikh Aftab Ahmed.
“He did a good job. He asked the House to recall that the president’s salary was last revised in December 2004 at Rs. 80,000 per month and then it was increased to Rs. 133,333 in the last federal budget. Our Sheikh Aftab asked that the president’s salary be increased to Rs. 846,550 from the existing pay of Rs.133,333.
“We know that it is Imran Khan and his Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) causing all the troubles. It must be so humiliating when Dr. Shireen Mazari of the PTI said
‘What does the president do? What powers does he have? We should condemn his pay raise.’ She asked the government to withdraw the bill because it would be a ‘black spot’ on the face of the government, which then only had to complete its term in three days.
“Our Sheikh Aftab was only asking for 530 percent increase in our Mamnoon’s salary, but some of the opposition members kept on insulting the presidency terming our increase request to be ‘unnecessary and illogical’.
“What ‘illogical’? The most logical thing is that we appointed a silent person, Mamnoon as president. God forbid a person like Ghulam Ishaq Khan,” said Nawaz Sharif.
“Our Mian Nawaz Sharif Sahib, and you remember Farooq Leghari,” declared Abbasi.
“Yes … yes … this Leghari, who was made president by Benazir and had assured her several times that he would not use Article 58-2(B), come what may, as she was his sister. What sister! In 1996, he dismissed her government, playing the innocent one that he had to dismiss his own party’s government as it was involved in several violations of the Constitution. So what about loyalty to the one who put you in that grand president’s house? Instead, Leghari gave the excuse that the Supreme Court had sent a letter to him to take notice of the situation.
“Syed Khursheed Shah, who was Peoples Party member of the National Assembly told me that at a dinner hosted by Leghari for Prince Karim Aga Khan at that time, he along with some other party leaders met with Leghari asking him not to take any action against the government of his own party. And what he told Khursheed Shah, with tears in his eyes, that he would not dissolve the government even if someone asked him to do so on gunpoint. We all know that he lied.
“Our Speaker Ayaz Sadiq did a good job, he denied the floor to Shirin Mazari to speak on a point of order, and dismissed the assembly due to lack of quorum.
“This is foresight. When we will be reelected, our dear Mamnoon Husain will be there in the president’s house. I know him. He is neither Ghulam Ishaq nor Leghari.
“Thank God, we are not the ones who have ungrateful contempt for our President Mamnoon Hussain,” declared Nawaz Sharif with his fist raised high.