Internal Affairs

Foreign Minister, Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari’s addresses the National Assembly 

Islamabad, May 12, 2022 (PPI-OT):Foreign Minister, Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari addressing the National Assembly has said that representatives of various political parties are jointly running this government. Such situations are created when a country and its people face severe crises. In the cases of war or emergency, political parties put aside their differences for the sake of the national interest.

We are in a very unique situation, there is a crisis at every front. Addressing the nation, Chairman Bilawal said that the situation was worse than that assumed. The situation in Pakistan is at crisis point; there should be no two views about it. Every institution of ours had been made controversial due to a selected man. The harm that Imran Khan and his former government have caused to the constitution, democracy and institutions are before everyone.

The former PM abrogated the constitution and attacked democracy. Former PM, deputy speaker and the President on the nights of April 3rd, April 9th and 10th till today are abrogating the constitution and refusing to follow it. How can this National Assembly, the Parliament ignore such an attack? Our constitution has been torn like a piece of paper in the past as well.

We believe that on the nights of April 3rd, April 9th and 10th till today, the constitution is being attacked. It is the position of the Pakistan Peoples Party which has been presented before the united government, this House must form a high-level parliamentary commission or committee to investigate the events leading up to April 3rd, post- April 3rd on the night of April 9th and April 10th and after that, including the game we see in Punjab. I am saying that we should take the attack seriously, make a commission to investigate who was involved in this unconstitutional and undemocratic attack.

As far as April 3rd is concerned, the Supreme Court clearly termed it unconstitutional in its decision. The people of Pakistan expect accountability of the former government abrogating the constitution while trying to escape a democratic process. If we want for democracy to progress and the supremacy of the House to be restored, then we have to investigate and come to the bottom of these events. In light of the investigation, we will move forward on this front.

Since this attack was ignored, the former PM thinks that he is a sacred cow and is roaming in the country while making attacks that are against the national interest and our national standing. This political instability is harming our economy. He thinks he is invincible since it was ignored that a government was formed through the worst-rigged elections. He was imposed on this country for four years, ruined the economy, isolated Pakistan on the foreign front, and attacked the constitution and democracy as well as the rights of the provinces. Electricity and water crises were caused.

Till today, be it Cholistan, Sindh or Balochistan, we are facing a water crisis. The wheat crisis was first caused by the geopolitical situation. Not only do we have to handle the crisis, but Pakistan, this region and the whole world would have to face further difficulties due to the geopolitical situation arising on the horizon among Russia, Ukraine and NATO. Due to this crisis and the Covid-19 pandemic earlier, food security is a dire problem that we have to face. In this situation, we are allowing the former PM to do as he pleases and attack wherever. I believe that the first step should be for our parliamentary commission to start the process of deciding what is to be done regarding April 3rd and the following events.

According to Transparency International, the corruption of the last four years has surpassed all previous records. We have seen how those around the former PM and First Lady were made billionaires overnight in the past four years. There are irregularities in every ministry. Someone should ask the former PM how there was such an increase in the wealth of the former First Lady and her friend. How did the former PM’s own assets enormously increase in the past four years? He attacks the institutions and the judiciary, and should be asked how and why he harmed Pakistan on the international level for his own politics. We have to stop this. The court and the parliament have to play their role.

When we were in the opposition, we stayed within our constitutional limits. We kept making our allies understand that the PPP cannot take an extreme position and can win while staying in the parliament. A historic precedent has now been set so that if there is an incapable PM in the future, no month-long sit-ins or physical attacks on institutions take place but the democratic path is adopted.

Former PM either wants new elections immediately or wishes to create a situation that paves the way for a third force. This is not a new strategy. A night before the no-confidence, I was threatened that we agree to fresh elections or there would be a martial law. This threat was conveyed to me via a federal minister through one of my associates. The strategy was for the no-confidence to fail but it was unsuccessful. Our institutions that had been controversial in the past such as the judiciary and the establishment performed their duties within the boundaries of law and the constitution which was a win for democracy. Khan and the PTI’s strategy today is the same, they want for elections to take place without reforms or to undermine a democratic institution to force an undemocratic step. We have to work hard together for Khan’s conspiracy to be made unsuccessful.

The PPP’s policy in this regard is ‘First reforms, then Elections’. We are a democratic force and want free and fair elections. Our demand has been the same in the past and is the same now. We have presented the same stance before the court and the people of Pakistan. We have to immediately repeal the electoral bills that were to restrict the ECP and allow for the RTS plus in the shape of EVMs. We have to engage the civil society, FAFEN and similar organisations regarding the electoral bills, as well as other political parties to ensure that the country is not toyed with as it was in 2018.

We already have a consensus that we are to implement the remaining points on the Charter of Democracy between Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif. We have to try that it is implemented before the next elections. We are working on a new COD but a minimum code of conduct needs to be present at least. We should agree on a basic code of conduct. We have to give our instructions space so that they can conduct themselves in a nonpartisan, democratic and constitution manner, be it our judiciary or the establishment.

If all political parties do not agree on a basic code of conduct before the next elections in light of the increasing polarisation and divide in the county, then the next elections can be bloody. No one is ready to follow the rules of the game. What is left if there is no trust on democracy and democratic processes? We have to agree on a basic code of conduct so that we can run the country.

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