Bilawal asks establishment to stay out of politics

PPP chief accuses PM of making Senate elections controversial through an ordinance

Hafeez Tunio February 08, 2021
PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari addresses a press conference in Karachi. SCREENGRAB


Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari urged “the establishment” on Monday to stay away from politics and the upcoming Senate polls, and charged that Prime Minister Imran was trying to make the upper house polls controversial “like the 2018 elections”.

Speaking at a joint press conference with Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, Bilawal announced that the Sindh government would also challenge the presidential ordinance for the open ballot in the Senate elections in court.

The PPP chief said that the Imran Khan-led Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government remained in power just because it had the support of the establishment. “Everyone knows that PTI does not have a majority in the assembly, it will fall down whenever the establishment becomes neutral,” he said.

Bilawal asked the establishment to keep itself at bay from the upcoming Senate elections, otherwise, he warned, the polling would become highly controversial. He also warned of strong reaction if there was any meddling in the polling exercise.

He said that the PPP was ready to contest the elections for the upper house of parliament but alleged that the prime minister was attempting to make them controversial, “like the 2018 general elections” by issuing an ordinance for the open ballot.

Read More: No one can stop govt from promulgating ordinances, says CJP

“We are ready to contest the Senate elections against the government even through open ballot, and angry members of the ruling party will vote against them despite the open ballot,” the PPP chairman told reporters.

“Every citizen has the constitutional right to secret ballot so that the voter can exercise the right to vote with complete privacy and without any pressure. This fundamental right is exercised in every election, but now the same right of the assembly members is being attacked,” he added.

Bilawal said that the reference regarding the Senate election voting was sub judice in the apex court, adding that the PPP would challenge the presidential ordinance through the Sindh government, while Senator Raza Rabbani and the provincial government would take a stand on the reference.

Responding to a question, the PPP chairman said that there could be some black sheep, who would sell their votes. However, the majority of assembly members vote on the basis of their conscience.

“If the PTI government wants electoral reforms it had ample time during the last three years to consult other parties for constitutional amendments. But now, by using unconstitutional means, it has exposed its bad intentions,” he added.

The PPP chairman said that “the selected government” had hoped that it would be given concessions in the Senate elections like in the last general elections, but “when Imran Khan saw that the PDM is ready to contest and his own party members are angry, he first filed a reference and then tried to impose a constitutional amendment bill through the committee without any discussion”.

“If the Constitution of Pakistan is violated to satisfy the ego of a party and an individual, it will make all the institutions controversial,” Bilawal said. He stressed that the democratic parties in the country wanted to stay within the system.

“Everyone knows that Imran Khan and the PTI have no organic majority but these puppets have been imposed on us by undermining democracy and this key mistake is now dragging the economy towards destruction,” he said.

About the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) public meeting in Hyderabad, he said that “the gathering will let the people know what the people of Sindh want, as they have already fought and given sacrifices during the popular movements of the MRD and the ARD.”

Provincial Ministers Nasir Hussain Shah and Saeed Ghani, MNA Shazia Ata Marri and Jamil Soomro were also present on the occasion. The press conference was held after a meeting between Bilawal and Fazl, in which they discussed the PDM’s anti-government campaign.



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