Prime Minister Imran Khan is 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.
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”.
“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.”
“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.
More to follow.