KARACHI: The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) on Wednesday demanded a judicial inquiry into a leaked video that showed lawmakers allegedly receiving money before the 2018 Senate elections and blamed the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf for blackmailing its own parliamentarians before the upcoming polls for the upper house.
Speaking at a press conference, PPP leaders Faisal Karim Kundi and Waqar Mehdi said that the PTI deliberately released the videos ahead of the Supreme Court verdict on the presidential reference on open vote for the Senate elections and asked the ruling party to take action against those who planned that whole episode.
“This government is so vulnerable that it’s not even ready to trust its own members,” said Mr Kundi. “They are making one move after another just to influence the upcoming Senate election because they know they are going to lose. It’s a sensible question why such videos are being released today. We demand a judicial inquiry into this issue to make things clear.”
He said the government on one hand wanted to hold the Senate elections through open ballot and on the other insisted on the conventional voting to elect the chairman and deputy chairman of the upper house of parliament.
“This is a dual standard, which shows that the government is in a state of panic after sensing defeat in the Senate elections,” he said. “If they are sincere in bringing electoral reforms then why don’t they hold talks with the opposition and solve this problem through constitutional cover? They don’t want electoral reforms but to stay in power by any means.”
‘Govt bribing its MNAs’
Mr Kundi said that the government was bribing its MNAs by paying them Rs500 million each in the name of development funds.
“But let me make it very clear, these tactics won’t work. The people of Pakistan are now well aware of the government’s illegal practices and non-democratic moves. It strengthens the opposition narrative against the selected PTI government,” he added.
He said the PPP was against horse-trading and there were clear directives from party chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari that no such attempt would be made in the upcoming Senate elections.
The PPP leaders also condemned the use of force against the protesting workers in Islamabad calling it a brutal use of state powers.
“These workers are just demanding their due rights,” said Mr Mehdi. “The government instead of listening to their grievances attacked them. A number of workers including women have been injured. You can’t call it a democratic system.”
He said it’s not the opposition alone as the people of Pakistan from every city were turning up against the government and its anti-poor policies. The days of government were numbered and with such brutal action it was inviting its early end, he added.
Published in Dawn, February 11th, 2021