KALLAR SYEDAN (Rawalpindi): Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday said vote-purchase in Senate elections since last 30 years was a big question mark over the credibility of politicians, who supported a corrupt system and “traded conscience in the name of democracy”.
“A big question lies ahead, whether to go for Senate polls with the old corrupt system or to act transparent instead,” the Prime Minister told media persons in response to queries on the recent video showing politicians buying and selling votes before the 2018 Senate elections, during his visit to Kallar Syedan.
The Prime Minister said the corrupt practices were revealed to him after he and his party members received offers from multiple sides for vote selling before previous Senate elections.
He recalled that he was approached by different people for money and offered funds for Shaukat Khanum Hospital as another mode of bribe. Imran Khan said: “What kind of democracy is this where votes are sold; this is nothing, but a blot on democracy.” He recalled that he ousted 20 from his party who took money for votes in the last Senate elections, adding some of them also invoked the jurisdiction of the court against the action.
The Prime Minister dismissed the allegations of the Opposition for being in knowledge about the video way earlier, saying had he known about it, he would have presented it before court.
The Prime Minister said Pakistan Democratic Movement had made an alliance to protect their corruption and ill-gotten money.
“The market of corruption in politics is on rise, but no other party is willing to change it,” he said, regretting that in the past, people became senators by buying votes from members of National Assembly and provincial Assembly votes.
He said currently, the rate for a single Senate vote in Balochistan ranged between Rs 500 to 700 million, which was unfortunate.
“Those involved in such extravagance will later recover by minting money from the public exchequer,” he said.
To a question on Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam chief Fazlur Rehman who advised Imran Khan to learn politics from him, he said the JUI-F chief himself was the one who most benefited from the secret ballot.
Imran Khan said he had been advocating for an open ballot for the last five years.
He mentioned that Pakistan Muslim League-N and Pakistan Peoples Party had earlier signed a Charter of Democracy and agreed for an open ballot, however changed their minds to support their corruption. He was of the view that the ruling party could take more benefit from the secret ballot because of being in the government. However, he said, “we want to change the system for the benefit of the country and to end corruption.” The Prime Minister said with corruption at leadership level, the honesty at lower tiers could not be expected.
On inflation, he said devaluation of Pakistan currency against dollar resulted in price hike. He said during PPP government, the rupee got weaken about 25 percent while during PTI government rupees value declined by 24.5 percent against dollars.
He expressed the hope that with continuity of trend in growth of exports, the situation would be improved.
About cricket, he said though he remained unable to watch the ongoing matches of Pakistan vs South Africa due to busy schedule, however expressed commitment that efforts would be made to remove flaws in existing structure to make more talent shine.