Will reject next polls today if reforms bill is railroaded, roars Bilawal
Says we will take the issue to court if electoral reforms bill forces through parliament
PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Wednesday blasted the government for introducing ‘one-sided’ electoral reforms, vowing that if the EVMs bill was bulldozed through the joint session they will reject next general elections from today, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.
Addressing the joint session of parliament, a charged Bhutto assailed the government's "one-sided" electoral reforms which have never before been seen in the country's history.
He said that during the government of former premier Nawaz Sharif, the PML-N had a two-thirds majority. "If that government had unilaterally decided and used the majority to force reforms, then the PTI and the PPP would not have been able to do anything.
"If they had decided to introduce a constitutional amendment, then we would have to accept their decision. But they achieved a consensus," he said.
He said that if the government had followed in the footsteps of its predecessor, then the opposition would have taken part in the legislation process. "If we carried out reforms together then the next elections would not be controversial and it would have been Khan Sahab's success."
The PPP chairman said that the PML-N and the PPP supported giving voting rights to overseas Pakistanis. "Despite this, the government wants to carry out one-sided legislation," he added.
Bilawal noted that overseas Pakistanis had representation in Azad Jammu and Kashmir and called for introducing a similar system. "How can we accept your suggestion where Pakistanis sitting in Paris, California and Britain decide for the people of Karachi and the tribal areas? They should have their own electoral college."
Bilawal claimed that the opposition’s strategy had met with success as the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government had become fragile due to what he called its allies who were not pleased with it at all.
Bilawal boasted that the opposition had twice defeated the government. “Today, we will strongly oppose the government bills,” he said, and expressed the hope that if the opposition would remain united just like it was now; the government might fall down tomorrow, if not today.
“If only the government had consulted us on the Election Reforms Bill prior to tabling it in the National Assembly, the situation would have been different,” he regretted.
Bilawal made it clear to the government that if it got the bill passed today, the opposition parties would consider the next general elections to be held in the country ‘rigged’. “We stand by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP). You want to thrust electronic voting machines on us. But we are telling you that we will take you to the court,” he vowed.
The PPP chairman accused the government of trying to give a safe passage to Kulbhushan Jadhav, the Indian spy. “You are insulting the parliament by trying to give ‘relief’ to a man who inflicted so much harm on our country,” he said, and wondered how the PTI could now give ‘relief’ to Jadhav when it used to politicize the issue prior to coming to power. “If you are dying to give ‘relief’, nobody deserved it as much as the people of Pakistan who were suffering immensely because of inflation.
“Do you want to subordinate the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) to the International Monetary Fund (IMF)?” he questioned and stated categorically that the SBP was answerable to the parliament, and not to the IMF.
Calling the census held in the country last time ‘controversial’, Bilawal said that it amounted to usurping the rights of people of Sindh and Balochistan. “We will not tolerate ‘injustice’ at any cost,” he said, and demanded debate on the census in the parliament.