Bilawal backs PTI call for judicial probe into May 9 events

PPP chief says people elected lawmakers not to abuse each other but to resolve their issues

Web Desk March 05, 2024


The first formal discussion in the National Assembly on Monday brought attacks on the civil and military institutions, missing cipher, rigging, judicial and electoral reforms in the spotlight with PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, while endorsing the PTI’s demand of a judicial inquiry into May 9,2023 events questioned former prime minister Imran Khan’s role in the cipher case.

Surprisingly, the PPP chairman, while validating Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) Chief Minister Ali Amin Gandapur’s demand of a judicial inquiry into May 9 events, urged newly-elected Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to approach the Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) to head the would-be judicial commission so that the perpetrators were punished.

However, the former foreign minister endorsed the demand on the condition if the PTI assured that the decision made by the judicial commission was accepted by all, saying it could not be that the country forgets that its institutions and memorials of martyrs were attacked.

On May 9, PTI-backed workers and supporters allegedly attacked and vandalised state institutions, buildings and military installations after Imran was arrested from the Islamabad High Court premises in a corruption case. Declaring May 9 as ‘black day’, the army said the day would be remembered as a dark chapter as the “group wearing a political cloak” had done what the enemies could not do in 75 years, all “in the lust for power”.

“The politics of the country will not be able to progress until we address this issue,” Bilawal told the National Assembly. Due to this reason, he added, the PPP appeals to the prime minister to approach Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa to head a judicial commission on May 9 so that the perpetrators are punished.

Bilawal, recalling his grandfather Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s words that he would take the secrets of the country to his grave but never compromise on the national security, said that Imran Khan himself admitted that he lost a confidential copy of national security document – the cipher – asserting that it amounted to comprising the national security of Pakistan.

Condemning the comparison between Bhutto and Imran, Bilawal said that had Imran himself not accepted it on television that he lost his copy, then one would consider the opposition’s excuse that the responsibility lies solely with the bureaucrats.

“Imran Khan himself admitted that he lost a confidential, national security document of the government of Pakistan, which is encrypted,” Bilawal said, adding that the enemy of Pakistan could crack the code of the country and break into all the other ciphers. “As the prime minister of Pakistan,” he said, “Imran Khan was privy to this.”

Recalling how Imran had said that ‘politics was to be played’ over cipher issue, Bilawal said that the alleged cipher was printed in an international publication the day after Imran Khan’s arrest. “If you think that the people of Pakistan are fool, then you are wrong,” Bilawal said. He said that everyone knew that the alleged copy of the cipher was printed in an international publication for the sake of politics and to make the corruption cases controversial in this manner.

“When such a document is publicised in an international publication,” he said, “it amounts to comprising the national security of Pakistan,” adding that this was condemnable and should be pursued in accordance with the law.

Reminding that everyone should abide by the oath, Bilawal said that “those violating the Constitution should be punished,” adding that “the Constitution was violated when the house was dissolved during the no-confidence motion”.

Responding to the criticism and protest by the PTI-backed lawmakers, Bilawal said that if he was schooled over the Constitution and the democracy by them, all he would say is, “who the hell are you to talk to me?

He continued: “I am the grandson of the man, who accepted being sent to the gallows, but did not compromise on his principles, those who are protesting today have only recently started talking about the democracy and the Constitution. They are in no position to give us a lecture on these matters.”

“The people of Pakistan are sending us the message that they are done with our squabbles. Hence, be it the ‘Charter of National Reconciliation’ or the ‘Charter of Economy’, we have to engage with one another,” Bilawal stressed.

“If the opposition truly represents the people, then it should realise that they [people]are fed up with the crippling inflation and economic difficulties. They have not voted for their representatives to only abuse each other and make needless hue and cry. The people of Pakistan have voted solely for us to save them from the economic quandary,” the PPP chairman asserted.

Bilawal said that the manner in which the members of the house were conducting themselves under the garb of protest during the speeches of the prime minister and the opposition leader, was disappointing. Noting that the opposition leader raised the objection that his speech was not aired on PTV, Bilawal said that this trend, was initiated by Imran Khan, but it should no longer continue and the speeches of the members should be aired live.

In a veiled reference to Mahmood Khan Achakzai’s speech the other day where he demanded that the establishment shouldn’t have any role in politics, Bilawal said that no matter how many resolutions were passed to stop interference in the democratic system, “we cannot attain this motive until politicians do not respect one another and operate within” their constitutional domain. “We should not expect the judiciary and other institutions to work within their constitutional boundaries if we do not respect them ourselves,” he said.

Bilawal said that the PPP did not reach the assembly due to forms 45 and 47, but because of the blood and sweat of the workers of the party. “We can solve most of the country’s issues if we make a system in which everyone agrees to the rules of the game and the code of conduct,” he proposed.

The PPP chairman said that the people of Pakistan “hope for us to derive solutions to their problems, so it is imperative that we carry out” judicial and electoral reforms. “We have not been able to make judicial reforms since the Charter of Democracy, and we would like to invite our fellows from the opposition to sit with us over these two issues,” he said. “If we address these two issues related to the judiciary and the elections, then no power in the world can weaken democracy of Pakistan.”

Meanwhile, PTI-backed lawmaker Asad Qaiser said that that time of fear had passed as the PTI had come out of all situations headstrong, adding that neither his leader Imran Khan nor the party would bow down.

Qaiser also demanded that the Supreme Court constituted a judicial commission on the cipher issue, which led the PTI to claim that its government was ousted on foreign interference. He regretted that cipher was used as the basis for Imran’s conviction and punishment.

Qaiser also demanded a judicial commission to probe allegations of rigging in the general elections. In addition, he vowed to bring everyone together for the Constitution and civilian supremacy as well as for an independent judiciary.

Speaking on the session, PTI Chairman Barrister Gohar Ali Khan said that the prime minister’s election was a sad occasion for democracy, adding that no one had imagined that such a person would be elected.

Gohar, while assailing the PPP and the PML-N for dynastic politics, said that Bilawal had buried his grandfather’s politics. He claimed that Imran brought an end to dynastic politics and was the reason why a worker like himself was appointed as the PTI chairman and standing in the National Assembly.


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