ISLAMABAD: The PTI government offered the opposition to hold negotiations regarding electoral reforms on Sunday. The move comes after the government secured both of the top position in the Senate, despite the house having an opposition majority. The offer was contingent on the condition that the opposition will accept the PTI-led government’s mandate to complete its constitutional term.
The Information Minister Shibli Faraz and Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry put forth the offer during a press conference in Islamabad.
Fawad Chaudhary said that the speaker of the national assembly would form relevant committees on the issue. “We want to make future elections fair and transparent,” the minister said.
“Our law ministry, parliamentary division and [NA] Speaker Secretariat are all ready to talk, discuss and take the matter forward, but it is important for this that you move forward while accepting the government’s mandate,” he added.
Citing article 21 of the Charter of Democracy, an agreement between the PPP and PML-N to set a democratic tradition in Pakistan after the politically turbulent decades of the 90s, the minister said that the two parties had signed the agreement that they would respect the mandate of governments to govern for the constitutional duration.
While presenting the offer, the federal minister also clarified that such a negotiation would have no impact on the cases and investigations being probed by the National Accountability Bureau, “there is just one thing on which there can be no negotiations — and that is the cases against your leadership.” The Supreme Court of Pakistan has criticised the NAB for its abuses of power against the opposition.
“All the fingers being raised at the Senate [chairman and deputy chairman] elections at this time are being raised because of the opposition’s role and the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) failing to perform its role,” Chaudhry added.
“Today, we see the political parties which lost this election are making the noise. If elections were open today and in front of everyone, we wouldn’t have had to face such difficulties,” he said, referring to PTI’s attempt to hold Senate elections through an open ballot.
Chaudhry also emphasised that the rift between the political parties can be set aright, asking the opposition leaders not to let their policy be driven by “political novices”. “Bilawal [Bhutto-Zardari] and Maryam [Nawaz] have no experience of Pakistan’s politics. The senior leadership in these parties should take policymaking into their hands and decide in the interest of Pakistan,” he cautioned the senior members of the opposition parties.
He further demanded that the opposition set aside its plan for a long march to Islamabad in the greater national interest. The minister said that Pakistan has been lucky enough to protect its economy from a huge contraction during the pandemic. Such moves would endanger the country’s economic stability.
During the press conference, Information Minister Shibli Faraz said that the opposition alliance was already falling apart with clear fissures in their ranks after the Senate elections. “This election has proved that the PML-N has stabbed PPP in the back, and the PPP has stabbed Maulana Fazlur Rehman [in the back],” Faraz said.
On the same issue, Fawad Chaudhry said that all of the parties in the PDM has different strategies, the Maulana [Fazl-ur-Rehman] wanted resignations, whereas “The PML-N has adopted such a stance within its own party and alliance [that] it is not finding any support, so its last nail has been hammered”.