- Bilawal says no-trust motion was planned days before Imran Khan’s visit to Russia.
- Calls Imran Khan’s “foreign conspiracy” claims a “big lie”.
- “He is relying on Pakistanis’ general anti-American sentiment,” he says.
ISLAMABAD: PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari said on Wednesday that his appointment as a foreign minister would be “something difficult for my party to stomach” as it is the second-largest member of the coalition government; “however, we need to work together to address the issues of Pakistan”.
In an interview with CNN, Bilawal said that the decision of him being appointed as the foreign minister depends on his party, adding that all members of the coalition should at this point work together to address the economic issues and for the electoral reforms.
Replying to a question regarding ex-prime minister Imran Khan’s demand of early, free and fair elections, Bilawal said: “We absolutely want free and fair elections but in order to have free and fair elections we must legislate on electoral reform.
“As everybody knows the 2018 elections that [Imran] Khan used to come to power have been widely condemned not only nationally but internationally as rigged and compromised elections that resulted in three years of autocratic, dictatorial rule.”
Becky Anderson, the host of the show, mentioned that ex-PM Imran Khan does still enjoy popular support, referring to his tweets of the protests held after his ouster, she questioned Bilawal that what are his thoughts on PTI chairman’s view that his dismissal was all a “US-orchestrated conspiracy”.
Bilawal, while referring to US January 6 movement, said: “I think that the Americans will be able to relate to what is Pakistan going through now […] where Mr Khan despite knowing that he has lost his majority in Parliament tried acting through his speaker to induct a constitutional coup.”
Calling Khan’s “foreign conspiracy” claims a “big lie”, the PPP chairman said that he [Imran Khan] is the first prime minister in the history of Pakistan to be ousted through democratic, constitutional means and this is the “massive victory for Pakistan’s democracy”.
“As far as his support is concerned, of course, little factious all over the world enjoy their cult following but that does not mean that the majority of Pakistan should be dictated to by these factious regimes,” he maintained.
The PPP chairman said in the 2018 elections, which the PTI claims were not rigged, the former prime minister’s party represented 30% of the population.
“Whereas our coalition — PPP, PML-N, JUI-F, and others — represent 70% of the Pakistani population,” the PPP chairman said.
Bilawal said his anti-America rhetoric was limited to the time he was not in power, but when he formed government in the centre, he had very cordial relations with ex-US president Donald Trump.
“It is true that since President [Joe] Biden has taken over, there have been difficulties in relations between US and Pakistan. But Mr Khan is manipulating the series of events to try and create this perception that there is a grand conspiracy when the fact of the matter is there is none.”
Bilawal clarified that the then-opposition’s decision to bring a no-confidence motion against Khan was planned days before his visit to Russia on the eve of Moscow’s Ukraine invasion.
“…he does not have any narrative that allows him to be presented as a victim, he is relying on Pakistanis’ general anti-American sentiment and trying to provoke a very dangerous situation where he has declared 70% of the parliamentarians as traitors,” Bilawal said.
Bilawal warned that Khan was going down a very dangerous path, noting that Pakistan’s democracy was very young as compared to the United States.
In response to dynastic politics, he said criticism can be made on it, but in the end, whoever Pakistanis elect comes into power.
“On the other hand, everyone in Khan’s parties — at the federal and provincial levels — are related to political dynasties,” Bilawal said, noting that his grandfather Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was hanged and his mother Benazir Bhutto was martyred by terrorists.