Asma Jahangir has described the Pakistan Tehriki Insaaf’s statement regarding her as a “fierce campaign which is not only illogical but also vicious”. “The assertion made by Imran Khan about any decision made by the two major political parties regarding her candidacy to the caretaker IM has been denied several times and thus there is absolutely no need to single her out for this vicious propaganda,” she said in a rejoinder to the PTI statement.
The criteria of the PTI were apolitical and undemocratic, she said and added: “It calls for a caretaker who has no opinion or a mind of his own.”
It’s no secret that a number of political parties had and continued to have support of the establishment, she said, asserting that there were strong indications that the PTI was no different.
“Singling out her name in an orchestrated way is another such indication. The claim that the objections are not based on any personality clash sounds hollow as her name was slammed even before laying down the so-called objective criteria.”
She said the fact that the two major parties she had often criticised found her neutral, clearly showed that neutrality was not the issue. “I had also publicly criticised the candidacy of Asif Ali Zaradari for the presidency and the PML-N often enough when in power and out of it.”
In any event, the constitutional procedure required a consensus only of the PM and the leader of the opposition and not of every party or group outside parliament, she said.
“If neutrality for the PTI means that all caretakers should toe its line then only a PTI supporter will fit the bill. If it means that the person should have no opinion other than in support of the PTI, it may be searching for a spineless person.”
Referring to the PTI accusation about ‘attacking’ the judiciary, she said criticising courts for genuine reasons was every person’s basic right to free expression.
“Whenever the judiciary has been targeted by the executive, she has been on the frontline in denouncing such executive actions. Surely anyone with some intelligence will not have blind respect for all Pakistan’s institutions. Such an expectation only
qualifies pliable entities, which is precisely what had been done in the past and is being engineered at present,” she said.
She also asserted that she had never supported any ‘undemocratic’ ruler ever, whereas Imran Khan had been a supporter of Pervez Musharraf’s referendum.
Imran Khan claims he can lead the nation with skill on the premise that he has the experience of running a hospital successfully, though his political judgments in the past had been flawed, she said.
“In the same vein I’ve also successfully run several organisations and have had no previous history of supporting dictatorships.
I remained the longest serving UN Rapporteur whose basic criteria is independence. My reputation as fearless and independent human rights activist is globally known and does not need Imran Khan’s validation.”
She said she was happy that she did not fit the ‘unfit’ criteria of the PTI and had no intention of tailoring her views and position according to the PTI’s ‘apolitical’ qualifications.
Asma said she had never lobbied for a position or accepted one even when offered as her independence was far more valuable to the causes she espoused.