PM Imran Accuses Opposition of Wanting to ‘Buy’ Lawmakers for the Upcoming Senate Elections

The Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan, has stated that he believes the opposition is planning on ‘buying’ lawmakers belonging to the ruling party. In his eyes, this is being done to ensure that the opposition is able to get a larger number of its candidates elected in the Senate. He went on to criticize the opposition’s actions to roadblock the open ballot proposal. 

The premier had been addressing a tree plantation ceremony being held in Ghazi Barotha, when he accused the opposition of setting up a market to ‘buy’ politicians. He also claimed that they had fixed the rates that these people could be bought on. 

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government secured an overwhelming victory in the elections of 2018. Since then, it has been eager to go through with Senate elections at the earliest, with the help of an open vote. 

The ruling party has claimed that this open vote will promote and ensure transparency. However, the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) has not hidden its disapproval and stated that these Senate elections are only a way for the government to make sure that its lawmakers do not switch loyalties. 

Consequently, the current PTI government has presented a bill, which seeks to amend the Pakistani Constitution and allow for an open vote in the upcoming Senate elections. 

The concerned standing committee passed the bill right away but, resistance came in the National Assembly. When the 26th constitutional amendment bill was presented in the NA, there was an uproar from the attendees. As of now, the bill has not yet been passed by the assembly. 

The Prime Minister recalled that opposition parties used to be in favor of open ballots and would ask for them repeatedly. He stated that no would support a secret ballot, if they knew that money is being given in Senate elections. 

Khan added that the opposition is now changing tactics after it has faced multiple setbacks. According to him, this included the Lahore rally, and the attempts made to blackmail the PTI government regarding the FATF legislation. 

Continuing with his criticism, the premier warned the citizens of the country that they are up against the ‘mafias and dacoits’. He went on to say that the nation is currently standing at critical crossroads. 

The Prime Minister added that corruption has been normalized in the country due to the previous governments. According to him, a country is destroyed when its ruling party starts to commit corruption. 

He added that a country, which asks for foreign loans, is not accepted in the world. In his opinion, politicians who are residing in foreign countries, have no wealth to show. 

After witnessing the strong resistance showcased by the opposition in the NA, the President of Pakistan, Dr. Arif Alvi, on the 6th of February, signed off on the Election Amendment Ordinance, 2021. Under this amendment, Senate elections in the country will be held through way of open balloting. 

The ordinance amended several sections of the Election Act 2017, which included numbers 33, 86, and 122.