Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Monday urged the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and the chief justice of Pakistan (CJP) to ensure that the forthcoming general elections were free of controversy.
He cautioned that holding contentious polls with “questionable results” would result in squandering billions of rupees.
Expressing hope in the role of the ECP and the chief justice of Pakistan, Bilawal stressed the necessity of preventing controversy and ensuring the credibility of the upcoming elections. He underscored that the utilisation of public funds in billions of rupees would serve no purpose if the legitimacy of the election results was put into question.
The PPP chairman warned against any attempts at manipulating the election outcome, emphasising that a predetermined result on Feb 8 would not resolve the myriad of challenges confronting the nation.
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“If free and fair elections do not take place, the government made, as a result, will not be able to represent the country and solve its problems,” the PPP leader said, adding that the nation would witness the same old outcome with one side ruling over the country unjustly while the other crying foul.
Bilawal’s apprehensions about the upcoming polls and request to the ECP and the CJP came just a day after his father, Asif Ali Zardari, who is the president of PPP Parliamentarians, reposed full trust in the ECP for the holding of free and fair elections in the country and dismissed complaints of no level-playing field.
On Sunday, Zardari said that the country was moving towards transparent polls, ostensibly shunning the party’s oft-repeated complaint about a lack of “level-playing field” in the coming elections.
During the speech, Bilawal in a calculated move, also delivered a dual criticism aimed at “two prime ministers”, saying that one, aspiring to incarcerate many, found himself behind bars, while the other championed democracy and constitutional values only when out of power.
During his speech, Bilawal criticised both PTI chief Imran Khan and PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif, saying that the former ended up in a situation he wished upon others, while the latter conveniently disregarded past actions when in authority.
“There used to be a man who was desirous of sending everyone to prison but is in jail himself,” the PPP leader said while addressing a public rally in Nowshera. “He might have now learned his lesson,” Bilawal added.
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While implying that the field was being tilted in favour of its main rival – PML-N, he once again criticised it. “The other one, while in power tends to forget everything and sings praises of Ayub Khan but afterwards tries to make futile efforts to portray themselves as Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and the flag bearers of democracy and the Constitution,” he said.
When not in power, Bilawal said, they remembered Bhutto and shouted slogans of ‘Mujhe Kyun Nikala’, adding that it would be better if they paid the same heed to democracy and the Constitution regardless of being in power or not.
Referring to the “incredulous claims of attaining a two-thirds majority”, Bilawal reminded the PML-N that they had also claimed that they would definitely be triumphant in getting 15 out of 20 seats at least in Punjab’s by-elections while the rest would be up for contest but that didn’t happen.
“They think that after a public gathering in Lahore, which too was arranged for them, they will win a two-thirds majority and amend the 18th Amendment,” Bilawal said. “It is better if we leave the decision up to the people.”
Additionally, he said that those who would run from by-elections and local government elections out of sheer fear will be given a memorable response by the people in the general elections and it will be remembered for generations.
He said that Nawaz Sharif is of the view that if someone was investing in the country, they should not be questioned. However, he added, the PPP would keep asking them whether they were “taking care of our labourers, increasing their wages and looking after their well-being” as the country could not prosper without the common man progressing along with it.
While criticising his opponents, Bilawal reiterated that he only looked towards the people of Pakistan, saying he was ready to serve them day and night if given an opportunity. However, he added, if the people opted for someone else, the PPP had no qualms, given that it was their own choice.
A party statement said that Dir and Chitral would be the next destinations for workers’ conventions, adding after that the party’s foundation day would be held in Balochistan and then the electoral campaign would begin.