ISLAMABAD: After rejecting Prime Minister Imran Khan’s offer for a dialogue on electoral reforms, the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) is now considering an option to present its own reforms in parliament in the form of a legislation.
“Since we have decided to completely boycott all the activities under the present illegitimate government, there is no question of talking to it on any matter, including the election reforms,” declared Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz secretary general Ahsan Iqbal.
During an exclusive chat with Dawn here on Wednesday, he said the election reforms were part of the basic principles agreed by the 11 constituent parties of the PDM for the preparation of Charter of Pakistan (CoP) and if any legislation would be required for this purpose, the opposition parties would present it before parliament on its own.
Mr Iqbal, who is also a member of the committee formed to prepare the draft of the new charter, disclosed that the PDM leaders had a plan to sign the CoP publicly in Lahore during its last public meeting on December 13.
Ahsan Iqbal says ‘Charter of Pakistan’ will be signed on Dec 13
When asked as to how the opposition would manage to get their proposed legislation passed without the support of the ruling coalition in parliament, he clarified that the PDM had decided to boycott any contact or talks with the government whereas its members were participating in the proceedings of parliament and its committees.
Similarly, parliamentary leader of the Pakistan Peoples Party in the Senate Sherry Rehman in a statement rejected the prime minister’s offer and said the government “should first accept responsibility for rigging elections in Gilgit-Baltistan and then talk about reforms”.
“This sudden interest in electoral reforms seems extremely dubious when all these years they have done nothing about it,” she said.
Ms Rehman said a parliamentary committee was formed earlier for comprehensive reforms but instead of going through that the government was now talking about electoral reforms.
“This just reflects the federal government’s non-serious attitude. When it came to Kashmir or Gilgit-Baltistan, the PM did not take the opposition into confidence, but now he wants to talk to the opposition to get these reforms passed,”she added.
Published in Dawn, November 19th, 2020