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Money Rules in Senate Elections, Alleges PM Imran Khan

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By Our Web Desk

ISLAMABAD– The Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that when Yousaf Raza Gillani becomes a senator and “will allow corrupt practices to prevail, what example will we set for the younger generation?”

Prime Minister Imran Khan while addressing the nation after yesterday’s upset in the Senate race with the government candidate Abdul Hafeez Sheikh losing to opposition candidate Yousuf Raza Gillani on an Islamabad general seat.

Prime Minister Imran Khan has vowed that whether or not he is in power, he will never let the corrupt off the hook and will rally the nation against them. “Whether I am in the government or out of the Assembly, I will not spare them,” he said,

PM Imran Khan said that he wishes to discuss what happened yesterday.”This is important because what problems our nation suffers from stem from the very situation that unfolded yesterday,” he said.

He said that the country’s leadership comes from within the members of parliament “and here you have people becoming Senators after bribing others”. He said “What sort of democracy is this? So I began a campaign for open balloting.”

The premier said in the 2018 Senate elections, the party found that 20 lawmakers “sold themselves off”. “But it was not just me. The PML-N and PPP signed a Charter of Democracy favouring the open balloting method because money rules in the Senate elections,” he continued.

“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.

“Even a video surfaced in which KP MPAs were receiving bribes in exchange for Senate votes,” said PM Imran Khan.

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

The prime minister said that meanwhile, the Opposition parties banded together to demand a secret ballot, whereas in the past they had agreed on an open ballot.

“I now ask you. Why do you think the same parties who wanted an open ballot now geared all their efforts to have a secret ballot?” asked the premier.

PM Imran Khan said they were saying it is “unconstitutional” and “non-democratic” but was it not so before when they signed the Charter of Democracy. “They even had a Senate bill asking for open ballot.”

Imran Khan said “What happened was that ever since our government came into power, all the corrupt people panicked that since we had a campaign on corruption running, that we would close in on them,” the prime minister said.

He said all the corruption cases were not made by the incumbent government; they pre-date it.

“I had predicted on the very first day, they will all stand together and their sole interest will be to put so much pressure on me that I relent and wrap up their cases,” PM Imran Khan said. He said that they “blackmailed” the government on a “rigged election” and then criticised the coronavirus response.

PM Imran Khan also spoke of the Financial Action Task Force’s listing of Pakistan as a “grey list” country. He explained that Pakistan is required to do what FATF says, otherwise it will be “blacklisted” and “sanctioned”.

“The sanctions mean that our rupee will fall and then inflation rises […] anything that is imported becomes expensive,” he said, counting fuel, electricity, pulses, ghee, and wheat as the commodities most affected.

The premier went on to say that the parliament together had to bring about legislation as per FATF’s requirement but the Opposition refused to do so, instead of subjecting it to their condition of a concession under the National Reconciliation Ordinance. “What does NAB have to do with any of this? They have a one point agenda to pressure me to get an NRO,” he said.

PM Imran Khan said they planned to “use money” to “break our party apart” and bring PTI lawmakers over to their side. “When Hafeez Sheikh was sought by them to lose, it was so the government loses majority and to paint the perception that party members walked over to their side, so a no confidence motion could be moved,” he said.

“The real objective was to hang the sword of a vote of confidence over my head and blackmail me so I give them [a concession under] an NRO,” he added.

He then went on to explain his political struggle. “Imran Khan is the only politician who had everything before he came to power. I am the only Pakistan, most probably, who was the most famous one before I came into politics. I had money enough to last me a lifetime,” he said.

“I was among the very first Pakistani generation who were born in an independent country […] Pakistan used to have a respected status in the world before. Our prime minister back in the day, was received by the American president when he visited the US,” the prime minister said.

The Prime Minister said “After 1985, our country started going downwards,” the prime minister said, adding that it was this that prompted his struggle.

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 resources, fail to progress. “My struggle was meant to make the powerful accountable,” the premier explained.

“Pakistan is not a poor country, but no country can progress when the corrupt powerful launder money,” he said, adding that a country’s downfall comes when a country’s prime minister himself engages in corruption.

“When a country’s leadership is corrupt, how can you expect a common man to be honest?” said PM Imran Khan.  He said “What message have we sent to the young population of our country, with this Senate election.