‘Election halted for one person,’ Bilawal slams Nawaz

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Slamming Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari said Wednesday that the Constitution, election, and democracy were halted due to “one person’s return”.

Despite being partners in the last government and demanding the former three-time prime minister’s return, the PPP has kept raising concerns that Nawaz might get a “special relief”.

Nawaz will return to Pakistan on Saturday (October 21), with the PML-N’s legal team being hopeful that he will not have to go to jail despite being a convict and an absconder.

“Our previous allies will have to acknowledge that delaying elections will not ‘give respect to vote’, rather disrespect it,” Bilawal said during a public rally in Karachi, hitting out at the PML-N, whose slogan has been “vote ko izzt do (give respect to the sanctity of vote)”.

The PPP chairman also said that he wants to end the politics of divide and abuse, adding that if politicos keep fighting amongst themselves, the country will not progress.

“We demanded that those who defied the Constitution be punished. The entire nation should be aware of who was wrong and who was right,” Bilawal, who served as the foreign minister under Shehbaz Sharif in the PDM-led government, said.

He said the PPP had to swallow the “bitter pill” of elections moving past 90 days, but asked all political parties to back his party in demanding the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to announce the date for general elections.

The PDM government’s term ended in August and the polls, under the Constitution, were set to be held within 90 days, but as a free census was conducted, new delimitations halted the polls.

The ECP had last month announced that the general polls will be held in January next year, but the final delimitations are still awaited.

“The election commission should immediately announce the date for the polls. We should, once and for all, end this politics of divide […] the PPP is ready for elections,” the party’s chairman said.

The PPP leader, during the rally, also announced that his party was kick-starting their mass contact campaign, which will demand the ECP issue election’s date.

“Let the people exercise their right to vote; they will have to accept the demand of the people,” Bilawal added.

The former foreign minister further said that the parties would have to let bygones be bygones and there was a need for a new leadership, which was not entrenched in the past.

“Today, Pakistan needs new politics and new thinking. We need Pakistan of the ’90s, not of 2017,” he said, demanding that parliament be given space so it can function up to the expectations.

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