Bilawal urges early SC verdict in deputy speaker’s ruling case

Published April 7, 2022
PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari addresses a press conference in this file photo. — DawnNewsTV/File
PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari addresses a press conference in this file photo. — DawnNewsTV/File

ISLAMABAD: As the political crisis deepens at the Centre and in Punjab, Pakistan Peoples Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari on Wednesday highlighted the need for early verdict by the Supreme Court on the NA deputy speaker’s ruling on the no-trust motion against the prime minister.

“If it takes 30 seconds to pull off a coup, it should take 30 secs to undo a coup. Justice delayed is Justice denied. After last weeks constitutional break down in Islamabad. Today Punjab dep speaker was locked out of assembly on day of voting for CM. Barbered wire around ppls house,” he tweeted.

“None of Imran Khan's desperate measures can save him now. his government is gone. Selected raj is over. The people are watching, history will record, how he was brought in undemocratically and on his way out he set the constitution on fire,” he added.

In a related development, parliamentary leader of the PPP in the Senate Senator Sherry Rehman told media outside the Supreme Court building on Wednesday that the entire country was waiting for the verdict of the Supreme Court on the NA deputy speaker’s ruling on the no-confidence motion against the prime minister.

In a tweet, PPP leader says justice delayed is justice denied

“The fate of the country’s democracy, parliament and its Constitution all now hang in the balance. It took less than one minute to vaporise our parliament. We hope it will not take longer to reverse illegal actions of the speaker and deputy speaker who no longer hold the confidence of the house, just like their former prime minister,” the PPP senator said.

“As we wait the PTI’s desperate and blatant illegality has now engulfed the Punjab Assembly, too, where barbed wires surround buildings and the deputy speaker himself has been locked out of the assembly on the day of voting to elect the chief minister,” Ms Rehman said.

She said that the pattern was obvious: use any means to move past the irrefutable fact that the regime has lost its support in the Punjab Assembly as well as the National Assembly.

“Such flagrant pummelling of the Constitution, which protects voting and no-confidence procedures in the country’s legislatures should not be condoned in any way,” she said.

The PPP leader said that Imran Khan had linked his political survival with weaponising national security charges that he was unable to prove, while his actions in the National Assembly on Sunday showed that he was willing to do anything to ensure his survival including dissolution of the assemblies.

“No democratically-elected government to date has ever committed such unconstitutional actions, so why does the failed PTI regime think it could do so?” Ms Rehman asked.

The PPP senator said Mr Khan was a security risk for the country considering how he had single-handedly pushed the country into dangerous instability and chaos.

“There is no link between the letter that was described as “dash dash dash” by one of the former ministers to justify the extreme unconstitutional act of illegally dissolving the National Assembly while a vote of no-trust was to be voted upon. The speaker’s action to link an illegal ruling to allegations of “treachery” against 198 members has plunged the country into an unprecedented crisis. We are waiting for the honourable court’s verdict to stabilise the situation,” she said.

Ms Rehman said that the PTI’s self-serving approach to matters of foreign policy might seem for them a way to save face and to build a new narrative for a defeated party, but it had ended up harming the country: a nuclear-armed state whose foreign policy could not afford to be isolationist.

Referring to some past incidents when the PPP was in power, the senator said the PPP government, through painstaking diplomacy, was able to obtain an apology from the US when the latter carried out the Salala attack and shut down the Shamsi Airbase and suspended Nato’s ground lines of communication, but the country’s relations with the US remained normal.

Why Mr Khan failed to obtain an apology from the US for the letter if it was such a threat? she asked.

“Using confidential foreign correspondence to further his (Mr Khan’s) agenda is going to deter career diplomats from sending cables in future, which will indelibly harm our already compromised foreign relations. Khan’s attempt to rile up the masses by presenting a classified diplomatic cable in a public rally is deeply regrettable, and conducting foreign policy by weaponising an unproven allegation is bad form. Instead of dissolving assemblies, Khan should have done the honourable thing and resigned. Did Imran Khan summon the US diplomats to Islamabad after receiving the letter? If he had asked Washington to review, why have details not been given? Imran Khan has put the country between two international blocs just to save his skin,” the PPP leader said.

“No one is against a just and fair election, but there is an urgent need for electoral reforms. We are not fighting for our gains; we are fighting against the blatant disregard of the Constitution,” Ms Rehman said.

“There cannot be two different laws for the PTI and the opposition. Khan can’t expect to be held to a different standard. The Constitution applies equally to every citizen of the country,” she said.

The PPP senator said that the issue at hand was the deputy speaker’s illegal ruling, “which we hope the honourable court will reverse. The PTI’s attempts to create a false link with a foreign policy conspiracy is spurious, it is mala fide and misleading”.

“Security agencies have not found any credible evidence of a foreign conspiracy behind the no-trust motion against Khan, but it is high time the evidence is brought forth as the charges are of serious nature. He could not save his regime even after attacking the Constitution. The shocking part is that he has tried to save his face at the cost of the nation and its international standing,” she said.

Published in Dawn, April 7th, 2022

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