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Monday May 16, 2022

‘Agree to instant polls, or face martial law’: Bilawal says minister threatened him on eve of no-trust vote

Bilawal Bhutto suggested forming a high-level parliamentary commission to investigate the offences related to attacks on the Constitution, democracy and the parliament, starting from April 3, and what was happening at present

May 13, 2022
 
Bilawal addressing the national assembly of Pakistan on May 12, 2022. Photo: Twitter/RadioPakistan
Bilawal addressing the national assembly of Pakistan on May 12, 2022. Photo: Twitter/RadioPakistan

ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister and Chairman of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Bilawal Bhutto Zardari Thursday claimed that a minister from the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) had threatened him of martial law imposition a day before the no-confidence resolution was moved against former prime minister Imran Khan.

Speaking on the National Assembly floor, he said he received a threat from the PTI minister that either he (Bilawal) should agree to early elections or martial law would be imposed in the country. He said the threat was a part of attempts to foil the no-confidence resolution against Imran Khan. "But their repeated attempts to defeat the no-confidence resolution were foiled by all the parties jointly," the PPP chairman said.

Bilawal pointed out that on that occasion, all institutions, whether it was judiciary or establishment, acted as per the Constitution. But at the same time, Bilawal Bhutto said that it was high time to form a high-level parliamentary commission to investigate the offences related to attacks on the Constitution, democracy and the parliament, starting from April 3, and what was happening at present.

"If we want to protect the Constitution, then we will have to launch an investigation and go into the heart of the events starting from April 3,” he said adding the parliamentary commission should probe as to who was involved in unconstitutional acts.

He said Imran Khan, on his way out, attacked the Constitution, parliament and democracy, while the president, speaker and deputy speaker were also involved in such activities. “How can we ignore such attacks particularly when the Constitution is a sacred document and parliament the supreme institution,” the PPP top leader said.

He regretted that following his ouster as the PM, Imran Khan took extreme stance based on false statements as he either wanted early elections without going through electoral reforms or he wanted the third force to intervene. “We should work jointly to foil this conspiracy to save Pakistan,” he added.

Bilawal said Imran considered himself a sacred cow because he feels that no action could be taken against him, adding that in the past, no selected prime ministers were taken to task. “We will have to stop this trend and the parliament and judiciary will have to play their roles in this connection and people will also have to be guided and convinced politically,” he said adding that Imran Khan was imposed on the country and he played havoc with the country’s foreign affairs and created economic, food and energy crises.

The PTI chairman said there could be no general elections without going through electoral reforms. "First electoral reforms, and then elections. We are democratic forces and want fair and free elections in the country,” he said. He further said that they also wanted to repeal all election acts including introduction of EVMs [electronic voting machines]. He termed EVMs RTS-2, which are meant to cut wings of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) before going to general election, so that 2018 election history was not repeated.

The PPP chairman also called for completing the remaining work on the Charter of Democracy, saying that all political parties should agree on basic and minimum code of conduct. "We should keep political differences with respect and should agree on basic code of conduct, and we will have to take all parties along including those which are not represented in the parliament,” he said.

Bilawal Bhutto said if all political forces do not agree on basic code of conduct, and all institutions, whether it is judiciary or establishment, act apolitically, then the next general elections would be bloody ones. He said former PM should also be questioned as to how his ego damaged Pakistan and how he left the country in economic, food and energy crisis. “He should also be asked as to how his own and his wife’s friend’s wealth increased.”

However, he pointed out that as the ministers assumed charges of their ministries, they felt that the conditions were even worse than they were expecting “The situation in Pakistan is at a crisis point when all the past political opponents joined hands and now they are together in the coalition government,” he said adding all that happened because the country was facing a unique situation.

Speaker Raja Pervez Ashraf, who was chairing the proceedings, also agreed with the formation of high-level parliamentary commission, saying that no one could be allowed to take actions which are extra-constitutional. 

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