Published On: Fri, May 13th, 2022
Published in Category: Islamabad

Bilawal says was threatened with imposition of martial law or we should agree on holding elections before no-confidence motion

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ISLAMABAD : Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Thursday revealed that a previous government minister though my aide had conveyed the message and threatened him with the imposition of martial law or we should agree on holding immediate elections a night before the no-confidence motion against ex-prime minister Imran Khan was passed. Bilawal Bhutto said that this strategy was for foiling the no-confidence motion which was not succeeded.

In his address to the National Assembly on Thursday, Bilawal Bhutto told the house that the PTI minister asked him to either accept early elections or martial law would be imposed in the country.

The foreign minister said that despite PTI’s repeated attempts to defeat the no-confidence motion against the former premier, their bids were foiled and the no-trust vote was successful.

Bilawal then demanded an investigation into the events leading up to and post the no-confidence motion that led to former prime minister Imran Khan’s ouster.

“This house must form a high-level parliamentary commission or committee to investigate the events leading up to April 3, post-April 3, of the night of April 9 and 10, and the events that have taken place to date after [the no-confidence motion was successful],” Bilawal Bhutto said on the floor of the National Assembly.

The PPP chairman said the “attacks on the constitution and the house” should be taken seriously, and an investigation should be held to determine who was at fault.

“Even the Supreme Court termed the previous government’s acts of April 3 as unconstitutional. In the way that the former government tried to escape from the challenge of the no-confidence motion, it was unconstitutional and the people of Pakistan demand accountability,” he added.

Bilawal said the acts of undermining the constitution had taken place in the past as well and the parliament remained mum on it, therefore, these events should be investigated. He claimed that because these events were ignored and no action was taken, the former prime minister was thinking of himself as a “sacred cow”. “He is traipsing around the country and presenting himself as a sacred cow, and doing things that are against our national interests, our Constitution and our international standing.”

Bilawal emphasised that PPP was never in the favour of political engineering and noted that his party’s demand still stands that first electoral reforms should take place, and general elections should be held after them.

“We are a democratic force and demand transparent elections. We had earlier demanded that electoral reforms should take place first. This is PPP’s clear stance,” Bilawal said.

Berating Imran Khan, he said the former prime minister should be asked about his performance during his tenure, he should be questioned about the economy, and how his “ego” damaged Pakistan internationally, in a reference to the PTI chairman’s alleged US threat.

“The former prime minister thinks he is a ‘sacred cow’ as he is currently speaking against the constitution, national security, and economic stability,” the foreign minister said.

The PPP chairman said the government left a mess in terms of the economy as it has left sugar, wheat, and energy crises for the incumbent government.

“Wherever we see, there is a crisis […] the conditions are even worst than we had thought when we were in the Opposition. The situation in Pakistan is at a crisis point — there should be no difference of opinion in this regard,” Bilawal said.

He went on to say that Imran and the PTI were still adopting the same strategy where they were trying to create political instability and making irresponsible attacks so that one of two things could happen: early elections without the necessary reforms or that an undemocratic step is taken.

“We should all make efforts to foil this conspiracy. We will all have to come together and work hard to foil this conspiracy and save the country.”

Bilawal also made his party’s policy on the future of the country clear, declaring “first reforms, then elections”. The minister maintained that the party did not believe in political engineering and desired free and fair elections. “This has always been our position.”

He stated that electoral reforms were a two-step process, where first the “undemocratic” bills and ordinances passed during the PTI government’s tenure needed to be repealed before passing any new legislation.

“We will have to sit together and brainstorm about the electoral reforms we want to bring. For that, [there is] civil society, the Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) and many other communities which we can engage with […] to ensure that what happened in the 2018 elections does not happen again.”

He went on to say that the country’s political parties were in consensus over the Charter of Democracy (CoD) — a 36-point document signed by the PPP and PML-N in May 2006. The foreign minister said that while there was work remaining on the implementation of the CoD and a long way to go before a second such document was made, there should at the very least be a “minimal code of conduct”.

“There should be a minimal code of conduct for parties that are present here and those that are not, which begs the question: What kind of politics do you want to do?”

He called for taking all political parties on board for this basic code of conduct, warning that failure to do so would result in “bloody” elections.

“The polarisation that is being seen in the country […] if all political parties don’t agree on a basic code of conduct before the next elections, then our next election will be bloody.”