‘This is my objection’: Bilawal bemoans lack of ‘level-playing field’ for political parties

Published September 12, 2023
PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari speaks to reporters in Sukkur on Tuesday. — DawnNewsTV
PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari speaks to reporters in Sukkur on Tuesday. — DawnNewsTV

PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari on Tuesday decried the “absence of a level-playing field” in the current political landscape of the country, saying he had an “objection” to alleged inequality faced by political stakeholders as the country was heading towards elections.

The statement from the ex-foreign minister comes days after the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) assured political parties that transparent polls would be conducted in the country “as soon as possible” and a level-playing field would be provided to all political parties to take part in the democratic exercise.

Concerns on the poll timing have arisen from the ECP ruling out elections this year. It reasons its decision to push elections beyond November 9 on the basis of the notification of results of the new digital 2023 census and Section 17(2) of the Elections Act, which states: “The commission shall delimit constituencies after every census is officially published.”

With elections potentially just a few months away, Bilawal has been engaging in public meetings and organising party meetings as part of the party’s electoral preparations of late. One such media interaction in this regard took place in Sukkur today.

During his talk, the PPP leader made a categorical statement, insisting that a level playing field did not exist in the country. His response came in answer to a question about the freedom of all political parties to campaign and function independently in the lead-up to the elections.

He remarked “it exists for one person” before adding: “The level-playing field is absent, and this is the basis of my objection.”

He also expressed his confidence in the ECP, emphasising that the electoral watchdog was the authority to announce the poll date.

“We will also request [the ECP] to hold polls timely,” Bilawal told journalists.

Bilawal emphasised that the most pressing issue confronting the country today was inflation, which he believed could only be alleviated through timely elections and the election of representatives who would advocate for their constituents in legislative bodies.

Expressing his condolences for the recent loss of lives in terror incidents, he said that the country must be moved away from the old ways of governance and rules and must prioritise delivering justice to the people.

The former minister also highlighted Pakistan’s successful battle against terrorists following the Army Public School attack in 2014. He subtly referenced the Imran Khan-led PTI government, suggesting that in subsequent years, important decisions were made by only a handful of individuals, leading to the pardon of the nation’s enemies without broader consultation.

He pointed out that the economic crisis had exacerbated crime rates across the country and criticised Imran for damaging the national security policy, which had been developed over many years and was, according to him, now undermined in a matter of months.

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