Thursday February 22, 2024

Imran knows he can’t win elections if institutions remain neutral: Bilawal

Bilawal said Imran Khan was leading a campaign to see that institutions do not play their constitutional roles and act controversially as his ‘Tiger Force’

By our correspondents
June 30, 2022
PPP Chairman Bilawal speaking in the National Assembly of Pakistan on June 29, 2022. Photo: Twitter
PPP Chairman Bilawal speaking in the National Assembly of Pakistan on June 29, 2022. Photo: Twitter 

ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister and PPP Chairman on Wednesday said PTI Chairman Imran Khan was leading a campaign to see that institutions do not play their constitutional roles and act controversially as his ‘Tiger Force’.

“That is why Imran Khan has been complaining why the institutions are apolitical and neutral. He knows that he cannot win elections when the institutions are apolitical and non-controversial,” Bilawal Bhutto, speaking on floor of the National Assembly, said.

Bilawal, while addressing the speaker, said when they were on the opposition benches, they were hardly given the floor to speak on any issue. “But now I am witnessing that despite the fact that there is much smaller opposition, its members are being given sufficient time to speak on the federal budget and other issues,” he said. He said that he reserved the right to respond to allegations levelled by member of the Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA) with regard to alleged rigging in local government polls in the Sindh province, saying that the issue could have been better discussed in the provincial assembly.

He said there are some elements like Imran Khan in Sindh -- whenever there is dictatorship, they are brought forth and given support. “In local government elections, these elements were expecting that the institutions will not be apolitical and they will be controversial but it did not happen” he said.

Bilawal Bhutto said that such elements were worried because the institutions like the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and others who take interest in elections, are now neutral and apolitical. “Whenever, the PPP gets a level playing field, opponents find no place to escape and their bails are confiscated,” he said. He pointed out that the PPP always struggled for the cause of democracy, fair and free elections and economic rights of people of the country. “We are doing so for three generations and we have been competing every fraud and dictators,” he said.

Bilawal Bhutto said that a system of rigging was raised in the country to block the way of PPP and Benazir Bhutto. “Despite rigging in general elections, the PPP managed to get some opportunities, reach corridors of powers. Rigging in every election exercise was meant to target the PPP,” he said, adding the PPP has been leading a movement for fair and free elections not today but for the last three generations.

Bilawal Bhutto said he was surprised to know that when they win elections from Larkana, they are accused of indulging in rigging in local bodies polls. Earlier, GDA member Ghaus Bux Mehar, while speaking on a point of order, levelled charges of rigging against the PPP in the first phase of local bodies polls in Sindh province. “Our candidates were forced to withdraw and polling agents were picked up,” he said.

Meanwhile, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Senior Vice-President and former federal information minister Chaudhry Fawad Hussain claimed that reports were being received that the National Assembly was being run through phone calls, which was causing an uneasiness and had strained the political situation in the country.

Fawad Chaudhry said that institutions should not sit as silent spectators in the present political scenario. He was replying to Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto’s assertion during the National Assembly session on Wednesday. Fawad said, “Quite right, the institutions should remain unmoved in the present situation of the country.” He said that all institutions should perform their constitutional duties within their domain.

Speaking to media persons along with former federal ministers Asad Umar and Dr Shireen Mazari outside the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) Secretariat here, Fawad pointed out, “You people are seeing what has been happening in the National Assembly for the last three days and two days ago the Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) said that the National Assembly was being run through phone calls. Fahmida Mirza has made a similar claim”.

He was referring to the complaints made by the National Assembly member and government ally Aslam Bhootani during his budget speech this week. Independent MNA Bhootani had protested on the assembly floor against Federal Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal for not including development projects for his constituency Lasbela in the Public Sector Development Programme despite constant requests from PM Shehbaz Sharif and former president Asif Ali Zardari.

Fawad also claimed that the National Assembly was no longer independent as the biased speaker of the assembly was running a biased session. He noted the country, which badly needed political stability, was facing uncertainty and instability. He asked what ‘you will get by isolating PTI, do you expect the country's largest party to form its own armed wings or do you want the party to indulge in bloodshed’. “All these problems are creating a crisis in the country and the only solution is to hold new elections in the country immediately because political stability comes when you follow the Constitution and it will happen when you move towards new elections,” he said.