PTI ready to sit in opposition benches: PM Khan

“What kind of democracy is this,” PM Khan

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday said that he was ready to sit in the opposition benches if he failed to get the vote of confidence from Parliament.

PM Imran Khan made these remarks while addressing the nation, a day after PTI’s upset in the Islamabad Senate race.

PM Khan raised questions over the performance of the Election Commission of Commission (ECP) for not taking action against individuals “buying” votes for their candidates in recently held Senate polls.

“We presented a bill in the parliament for open balloting in Senate elections. When other parties who previously supported open balloting did not support our demand, we went to the Supreme Court,” adding that “Even a video surfaced in which KP MPAs were receiving bribes in exchange for Senate votes.”

The Supreme Court told the Election Commission of Pakistan that it is the electoral body’s responsibility to hold transparent elections, he said.

He said he got to know about the Senate vote trade when his party participated in the 2018 election of the upper house. “When I got to know, I started a campaign against this mockery of our democracy.”

“Remember that the country’s leadership comes to the Senate,” he lamented. “An individual pays to become a senator and parliamentarians sell their votes for money in Senate polls.

In the 2018 Senate election, he said, his party came to know that around 20 of its parliamentarians had been sold. “We expelled 20 members from the party,” he recalled.

All parties in the Pakistan Democratic Movement banded together for a secret ballot in the Senate polls, the premier said. These opposition parties have been demanding an open ballot in the past, he noted.

PM Khan also criticised the opposition stated that they wanted to pressure him into giving it an NRO and end the corruption cases. “They sought an NRO for supporting the FATF bill,” he said. “They wanted to break our MNAs and win against Hafeez Shaikh. They wanted to show that Imran Khan doesn’t have the majority in the National Assembly.”

PM Imran Khan said they were saying it is “unconstitutional” and “non-democratic” but asked was it not so before when they signed the Charter of Democracy.

He said that justice and rule of law is the only difference in the world why some countries around the world prosper while others, despite having plenty of resources, fail to progress. “My struggle was meant to make the powerful accountable,” the premier explained.

Earlier, Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Shibli Faraz said that the prime minister will address the nation today. PM Khan will address the nation to appraise the nation about important matters.

He further said that Prime Minister Ìmrañ Khan has announced Sadiq Sanjrani for Senate Chairmanship.

Shibli added that the special session of the National Assembly on Saturday, in which Prime Minister Imran Khan will take a vote of confidence after the government-backed Senate candidate Hafeez Sheikh lost the Senate polls on Wednesday. PM Khan has also directed party MNAs to stay in Islamabad until the session of NA summoned for vote confidence on Saturday.

The ruling party is currently focused on the aftermath of the Senate elections and legal action can be taken against PTI parliamentarians who voted other than the party’s candidates pending a formal inquiry into the matter, Faraz said.

This comes as Yousaf Raza Gilani beat Hafeez Sheikh for Islamabad’s senate seat. Gilani won 169 votes while Hafeez Sheikh was only able to secure 164 votes. This is even though PTI and its allies had a lead of 18 MNAs in the National Assembly, reflecting that Prime Minister Imran Khan has lost the majority in the National Assembly.

Raja Furqan Ahmed

Raja Furqan Ahmed is the News Editor of The Pakistan Daily.

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