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ISLAMABAD: The ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), on Wednesday, announced that Prime Minister Imran Khan would seek a fresh vote of confidence from the National Assembly, following the upset defeat of his candidate from the federal capital, Abdul Hafeez Shaikh against the joint candidate of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani.

Speaking at a news conference soon after the results of the Senate elections, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi flanked by other government ministers, including Minister for Education Shafqat Mahmood, Minster for Planning and Development Asad Umar, Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry, said the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) had failed in conducting “transparent” Senate elections.

“Prime Minister Imran Khan has taken a moral position, so he has decided to seek a vote of confidence from the House, after consultation with other PTI members,” Qureshi announced, adding that the decision was taken with a view to making it clear “as to who is standing with Imran Khan’s ideology and who is not.”

“Today is a sad day for Pakistan’s democracy. The claimants of democracy just ruined democracy…They [the opposition] have no political ideology. They do politics of interest,” Qureshi added.

He further said the PML-N and the PPP were agreeing to accept the principle with regard to parties’ strength at the assemblies for elections of the senators in Punjab, “but they refused at center because they were involved [in] horse-trading.”

“We will fight them [the opposition] in a democratic way,” Qureshi said, adding that the results at the Centre vindicated the PTI’s stance of holding the Senate polls through an open ballot.

He said the opposition parties opposed the PTI’s open ballot proposal in the Senate polls and after the government approached the Supreme Court, the ECP was asked to stay watchful and ensure transparency in the elections. “It was the responsibility of the ECP to conduct free, fair and transparent elections, but it is very unfortunate that the ECP failed to fulfill its responsibility,” he said, adding that “the entire nation knows about Gilani’s son’s leaked video.”

He said the government offered the ECP its services to use technology in the Senate polls, but it did not opt for it.

He also dispelled the impression that the PTI’s lawmakers were unhappy and voted for Gilani, adding that if the PTI members were unhappy then why a woman candidate Fauzia Arshad bagged 174 votes against 161 of the PML-N candidate Farzana Kausar.

“After surfacing of the leaked video and the audio, it’s obvious that horse-trading did happen in the name of democracy,” he said.

However, he added that the PTI would take action for violation of the party discipline, if anyone was found guilty.

He said the PTI had also taken action previously against “such practices”.

Fawad Chaudhry said that for the last three days, the government had been urging the ECP to use technology for conducting free and fair Senate elections, adding that the ECP failed in holding a transparent election.

Asad Umar said, at present, there were two segments – one was standing by Prime Minister Imran Khan on the Quaid’s vision, and the rest were with the “corrupt mafia”. He said those who voted for the opposition’s candidate committed “hypocrisy”.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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