'Jihad postponed?': PML-N derides govt for postponing joint session of Parliament

Published November 10, 2021
This combo photo shows PML-N's Maryam Nawaz (left) and Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry. — DawnNewsTV/File
This combo photo shows PML-N's Maryam Nawaz (left) and Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry. — DawnNewsTV/File

The PML-N on Wednesday once again pounced on the opportunity to deride the government after the latter announced that it would be postponing the joint session of parliament that was originally scheduled for tomorrow.

Shortly after Prime Minister Imran Khan addressed lawmakers from the ruling party and its allies in Islamabad, in which he had asked lawmakers to take part in the legislation process as "jihad", Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry announced that the joint session had been postponed.

Taking to Twitter, the minister said that electoral reforms were connected to the country's future.

"We are working in good faith to reach a consensus on this issue. In this regard, National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser has once again been asked to get in touch with the opposition so that a bill on electoral reforms can be introduced," he said.

He added the joint session of Parliament was being postponed for this purpose. "We hope that the opposition will seriously consider these crucial reforms so that we can come up with a strategy for the country's future," he said, adding that the government will not back down from poll reforms until this happens.

Minutes later, PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz said that earlier today the premier gave a speech calling on parliamentarians to vote during the joint session like it was "jihad".

"Can the nation ask why the jihad had to be postponed so suddenly?" She said that while the nation was "aware of everything", it was a necessary question to ask.

PML-N Information Secretary Marriyum Aurangzeb replied to Chaudhry on Twitter with a simple: "And Imran sahab runs away."

In a subsequent tweet, she called on the information minister to have strength and speak the truth which was that the government didn't have the numbers for the joint session.

"Forget their allies, their own lawmakers are not ready to vote for them," she said. "Did you remember to talk to the opposition in order to develop a consensus after calling the joint session?"

Democracy begins with free and fair elections, says PM Imran

Earlier today, Prime Minister Imran Khan pressed members of the parliament to keep striving for the introduction of electronic voting machines (EVMs) for the next polls, saying free and fair elections leads to beginning of democracy.

Addressing lawmakers from the ruling party and its allies in Islamabad, the prime minister stressed upon the parliamentarians to consider taking part in legislation process [with regard to electoral reforms] in an upcoming parliament session as "jihad".

He also took exception to opposition parties resisting electoral reforms and called them "a breed of the corrupt system". He said his party wanted a "better Pakistan" for generations to come.

He pointed out that reforms were always resisted by people with vested interests. He stressed that the PTI had nothing to gain from open ballot in Senate polls and introduction of EVMs for the next elections.

"Until we lift our moral values, we cannot progress. No nation could ever become a great nation if it lacked a fair justice system," he told the gathering.

The premier also called out the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for "hatching propaganda" against the use of EVMs.

He recalled that videos of the recent Senate elections showed some members were openly receiving bribes. "But, neither the ECP did something nor the government."

The prime minister said elections held in the country since 1970 were all "controversial", adding that the losing side never accepted the results.

"It's the government that has to introduce reforms. We staged a sit-in for 128 days because we wanted the next elections to be fair. But the then government refused to audit four constituencies, whose election results were later found to be doctored," he said.

Imran said his government decided to introduce EVMs after detailed deliberations to do away with systematic manipulations prevalent in the election process for decades.

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