PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari on Friday responded to PML-N’s allegations of PPP stealing the NA-249 election, saying it must “learn to honourably accept defeat”.
In a press conference in Karachi, the PPP chairman said that these are “highly regrettable” remarks by the PML-N and must be proven.
“I kept hearing chants of ‘Daska 2, Daska 2’. If this was anything like that, where were the firing incidents, where were the kidnapped polling agents, where were the missing bags of votes?” he asked.
He said the PML-N’s Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, along with the “former governor” (Muhammad Zubair) and “former finance minister” (Miftah Ismail)” were present in the office of the returning officer and watching their party lose the election.
“To hide your defeat will you now level false allegations of rigging?” Bilawal asked.
“If you pick up historical records, which party do you think takes the lead in the most amount of rigging? Which party do you think is the original selected?”
“And now who are they lecturing?”
“Instead of leveling false allegations, our friends would do well to do some introspection. What reason is it that in a constituency where Shahbaz Sharif fought, the votes, within two years, have dropped down from more than 35,000 to 15,000?” Bilawal asked.
“Our PML-N friends should learn to honourably accept defeat when they are defeated fairly and squarely in the electoral process,” he said.
He regretted that the Opposition did not issue a joint statement following the results, “which exposed the federal government”, as their candidate had been pushed down to sixth spot, which is “everyone’s success”.
“But they are only interested in opposing the Opposition, in instead of fighting Imran (khan) and the establishment, fighting the PPP instead. If you want to compete with the PPP, go ahead. But then be prepared to lose.”
NA-249 win ‘proves people no longer support govt’
Bilawal said that the party’s “historic win” in the NA-249 by-election “proves that the people are no longer backing the government”.
“The people of Karachi have sent a clear message to the puppet, incompetent government that they have been rejected,” the PPP chairman said.
“This win is a win for the entire city,” the PPP chairman said, adding that the victory marks a new trajectory for politics in the city, one based on “democratic forces”.
“This regime’s stronghold [has been broken] due to the PPP’s consistent opposition and democratic strategy.
“We not only dealt the government a defeat in the nationwide by-elections, but then in the National Assembly, the Chairman Senate, and then the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate elections,” he said.
Bilawal said that with the win, the PPP “proved to the naysayers” and the “propaganda” peddlers that “whoever works hard and stands by the poor” will emerge victorious.
‘President, law minister must resign’
Bilawal also demanded that the president and the law minister resign for the “false reference” filed against Justice Qazi Faez Isa.
He said that his party had at the outset termed the action against the judge “illegal” and “inappropriate” and condemned the probe against him.
“We had demanded at the time that whoever is involved in this, in the blackmailing of judges, in spying against them, and those who have sold this reference, which includes the prime minister, the president of Pakistan and their advisors and ministers […] should resign after attacking judges in this manner.
“Now after his acquittal and after the conspiracy has been exposed, there must be action against them and an investigation must be conducted to determine the nature of this conspiracy which targeted an honourable justice of the Supreme Court of Pakistan [and subjected him to] political victimisation and character assassination,” Bilawal said.
He said the party welcomes the development and hopes that the same standards will be upheld by the judiciary for political victims as for justices.
“We demand that the president of Pakistan immediately resign. He has no moral authority to remain in office after signing off on a false reference against an honourable judge of the Supreme Court,” he said.
“Everyone must resign. Khan sahab’s entire cabinet is involved in this crime. They all advised the president to take such a step,” Bilawal said, adding that the president “made an error” and that he “should have exercised his own judgment”.
The PPP chairman said now “everyone (involved) will have to answer for this crime and the sooner, the better for the country”.