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Bilawal stresses ‘establishment stay away from Senate elections, politics’

PPP Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Monday demanded that the “establishment stay away” from Senate polls and politics, warning that if the Senate elections were “made controversial”, it would affect the entire country.

Responding to a question during his press conference in Karachi, he said the PPP wanted that “not only should [the establishment] not take part in Senate elections but it should have no political role”, adding that “if they have a political office, it should be closed.”

Bilawal said he believed that the ruling PTI was still able to function “only because it has the establishment’s support”.

“It does not have an organic majority in the National Assembly. Not only [the PTI’s] allies but its aggrieved members of the provincial and national assemblies are undermined to [install] this puppet government on us.

Bilawal said the PPP would challenge the ordinance and elections would be held according to the law and the Constitution. “If God forbid, this plot succeeds, I believe it will be a huge attack on Pakistan’s parliament, democracy, and elections.

“If this succeeds, you might as well lock the provincial and national assemblies of Pakistan. What will be their use? What will be the use of members’ votes? We have the right to do our work. If legislation has to be done through the president’s office or courts, then you should shut down provincial and national assemblies. They have no role in the democracy, and in the running of this state.”

The PPP chairman said that such a move would also set a “dangerous precedent”, adding that in the future, the president could issue an ordinance before every election on the basis that the National Assembly had been dissolved.

“The president will bring out an ordinance that [elections will be held through] open polling and you can [cast vote] through Facebook polls and we will see helplessly because we won’t be able to do legislation.”

He also termed it an “irresponsible move”, urging the government to “see the direction we are going in” and the message it would send to people inside and outside the country.

Bilawal alleged that opposition parties were supportive of “comprehensive electoral reforms” for Senate polls but the government was not interested in it.

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