This had been expected. Latif Khosa had to face the music sooner or later. And so he did. Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari removed Khosa from the post of People’s Lawyer Forum (PLF) president and gave the additional charge to PPP Secretary General Syed Nayyer Hussain Bokhari. His recent remarks against the coalition government had left the PPP red-faced and perturbed. Latif Khosa’s interviews were critical of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) government, of which his party is a part.
Recently, while commenting on the coalition government-Supreme Court rift, Latif Khosa said Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) senior vice president and the party’s chief organiser, Maryam Nawaz’s remarks against the judiciary were unjustifiable, fell under contempt of court and called them more serious than Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan’s remarks. He was particularly harsh against the PML-N, accusing the party of insulting the courts. He was also critical of the election date, saying that if a deadlock arises in this regard, the Election Act 2017 to deal with it. He also clearly stated that the PPP was not part of the PDM but an ally. He said the bill that curtailed the powers of the Supreme Court chief justice was tantamount to gagging the judiciary.
He questioned the government’s stance on the verdict regarding the holding of elections in Punjab, saying how was it possible to include the opinion of those judges who were not part of the bench. This whole scenario had put the PPP in a tight spot. The PML-N had lodged complaints with the PPP leadership about its party members who did not miss any opportunity to criticize the senior partner of the coalition.
Reacting to his removal, Latif Khosa said he was a follower of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto for which he did not need a certification or position. “Children have grown up; now it is their right to expel the party’s older leaders,” Mr Khosa said. It has been learned that the decision to punish Khosa has not gone down well with several disgruntled PPP members. A roundtable has been announced and constitutional and legal experts as well as representatives of various political parties have been invited to discuss the prevailing confrontation between the government and judiciary.
However, Latif Khosa is not the first PPP member to have opposed the present government’s decisions. Aitzaz Ahsan has even stood up against his party. How can one forget about his involvement in the lawyers’ movement in support of the then Supreme Court chief justice, Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry?
The PPP leader received a lot of flak from his party leadership due to his outbursts as they deviated from his party’s policies. His basic membership had also been suspended. Recently, Aitzaz Ahsan expressed his outrage at the provincial authorities for firing tear gas shells at Imran Khan’s Zaman Park residence in Lahore and barging into it. The PTI leadership had even offered Aitzaz Ahsan to join the party, but he refused, saying PPP was his family.
The ideological members of the PPP have never accepted the party’s closeness with the PML-N, and deep down they have opposed it. Several PPP members from Punjab left the party, accusing it of becoming a B team of the PML-N. On seeing their politics and vote bank suffering, they were compelled to take the decision. We have examples of Sumsam Bokhari, Firdaus Ashiq Awan, Nazar Gondal and many others parting ways. The PPP, being a major ally of the government, should not compromise on its stance. Its support for dialogue was a wise decision despite other parties opposing it. The PPP is an ideological party, and it was the ideology that won its support. People like Aitzaz Ahsan and Latif Khosa are assets to the party. Preserve them, don’t lose them.