Imran says PTI poised to block Elections Bill 2017

  • PTI chairman says he is ready for accountability


ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan has resolved that his party, in collaboration with other opposition parties, will block the Elections Bill 2017 from being passed by the National Assembly (NA).

Addressing a press conference here on Monday, he said that he was contacting other opposition parties to invite them to challenge the bill, which had been passed with a majority vote by Senate last month after a key amendment proposed by the PPP, to retain a clause resurrected by General Pervez Musharraf through the Political Parties Order 2002, was rejected.

Under the bill, the legal bar on a person to serve as an office-bearer of a political party if he was either not qualified to be, or disqualified from being elected as a member of the parliament under the Article 63 of the Constitution was removed, paving the way for an otherwise Nawaz Sharif to head his party – the Pakistan Muslim League-N.

“This bill will provide an opportunity to a ‘criminal’ to become the head of a party,” Imran said, referring to the former prime minister. “You are creating a law for a ‘criminal’,” he said, adding that the moral conscience of the country was being jeopardised.

“Does this happen in democracies? Democracy means transparency,” the PTI chief said and threatened to approach the courts if the ruling party attempted to ‘bulldoze’ the bill through the assembly. He also said that he had already planned rallies in case of such an eventuality.

Criticising the ruling PML-N on several fronts, the PTI chief also reiterated his call for fresh elections. He alleged that Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal had staged a ‘drama’ in the capital as Nawaz Sharif appeared before an accountability court for a hearing regarding several graft cases opened against him.

“Rangers have suddenly appeared and taken over this place,” Ahsan had said as he lashed out at the paramilitary force for barring PML-N leaders, lawyers and supporters of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif from entering an accountability court in Islamabad.

The PTI chief said that Ahsan’s statement would create conflict among the country’s institutions. Speaking about his on-going case in the Supreme Court, which seeks Imran’s disqualification over the non-disclosure of assets, ownership of offshore companies and receiving foreign funding for his party, the PTI chief said that he had submitted ‘complete’ details of his finances and documents pertaining to the money trail for his Draycott Flat in London.

“I am being compared to the country’s biggest criminal,” he said, adding that Sharif family had not submitted any evidence or money trail before the apex court during the Panama Papers case but he had done so in the disqualification case against him.

He further said that propaganda was being created and his case was being portrayed in the same light as that of former prime minister. “They think that if Nawaz Sharif is a ‘thief’, then Imran must be one as well,” he added.

“I am ready for accountability,” he said, and added, “I have submitted ‘all’ the documents pertaining to the money I earned abroad for 20 years.” On the other hand, he said the Sharif family had ‘failed’ to provide any details of their properties whereas Nawaz Sharif’s children became millionaires at a young age.