Thank you Mr. Speaker,
I bow my head in gratitude, before Allah, as I stand before you in this August House today – the very foundations of which, from the foundation stone, to the Constitution of 1973, were laid by Quaid-e-awam Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.
This House where my mother Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto served both as leader of the House and leader of the opposition.
This House that is a supreme institution representative of the will of the people, unfortunately has seen and survived so many attacks on its dignity, its sovereignty – from both within and outside these walls.
This House which is the custodian of the will of the people.
Standing here today, is for me, both an honour and a challenge.
Mr. Speaker I wish to express my gratitude to the people who voted for me and elected me to represent them in this House. And also to thank my Party for having toiled in the face of such blatant engineering.
I wish to congratulate you, Mr. Speaker, on your election as the custodian of this August House. As custodian of this House, we hope and expect that you will rise above and beyond partisan politics, and together with all political parties, uphold the dignity and prestige of the House.
I want to start Mr. Speaker, by paying tribute to
1. Shaheed Haroon Bilour and the 20 martyrs of the Peshawar blast
2. Shaheed Siraj Raisani and 128 martyrs of Mastung
3. Shaheed Ikramullah Gandapur
4. The 32 shaheeds in Quetta on Election Day
I want to pay tribute the police and LEAs, and all the victims of violence, inan election which the ECP called “peaceful” across the country.
Mr. Speaker, every election in Pakistan is sadly, a bloody election. And this one was no different. We lose lives we can never get back. And neither the dead get justice nor the survivors answers. But I demand that this time be different. The Pakistan Peoples Party demands a full and comprehensive investigation into each and every terrorist act that took place in this election. This nation deserves answers presented before the House and the people of Pakistan.
Mr. Speaker –
The General Elections 2018 have shown us a lot. We have seen, sadly, how elections are manufactured. We have seen media blackout for some and media hype for others, we have seen some candidates declared winners 2 hours after polls closed and others waiting for results for over 28 hours – even in urban constituencies.
From pre-poll to post-poll rigging; refusal to provide form 45s, even till today; throwing out of polling agents from polling stations across the country; breakdown of the much touted RTS system; the ECP’s violation of the Election Act 2017; the list is long and the list is shameful.
Mr. Speaker, we saw an election & a selection. And therefore, we categorically reject the entire election process.
However, despite our reservations, despite having proof of just how rigged this process was – we chose to sit in Parliament. Not only did we choose to sit in Parliament, we convinced all opposition parties to sit in Parliament. And for their agreement to do so, I thank them. And so should the newly elected PM – because we did not like him, choose to delegitimize Parliament. Instead, as always, showed our belief in Institutional Supremacy, Constitutional Supremacy.
I can’t imagine Khan Sahib accepting these results – had they not been what he wanted – And unlike him, we chose to rise above. And to sit in Parliament. And allow the system to work. Had we not – you Mr. Speaker would not be on this chair, and the newly elected PM would not be on his. There would have been a Constitutional crisis and heaven forbid, this House would not exist.
This House will recall Mr. Speaker, that it is the Pakistan Peoples Party that has defended the dignity of Parliament, whenever it has been threatened. Today once again, we have saved the system. We have averted a crisis. We have placed national interest above all.
But this in no way means that we will let anyone get away with this. We had reservations with the 2013 election process. And despite getting more seats this time, we have even greater reservations with the 2018 election process. The PPP demands that a Parliamentary Commission, with members from both Houses, be constituted to closely investigate every aspect of this compromised Election. Let the truth come out. Let there be full disclosure.
Let us assess Mr. Speaker, just how much this nation has lost. Let us gauge exactly what it has taken for Khan sb to become PM. Because make no mistake. We have paid a price. A steep price. A price that we will continue to pay off for generations to come.
We have lost our freedoms.
Our freedom of speech.
Our freedom of association.
Our freedom of dissent.
Our freedom of the Press.
We have compromised on our fundamental human rights.
Ceded the space for Parliament
Weaponised articles 62/63
Mainstreamed extremism and exploited religion for political gains
Pitted one Pakistani against another
We have taught an entire generation that might is right
I hope Mr. Speaker, that this was worth the price this nation has paid!
And in addition to these, many existing challenges also face the new PM elect, most of which he has promised to give a road map to resolve, in the first 100 days of his government.
I look forward to the Parliament hearing his plans on creating 10 million jobs, and making 5 million homes. On how he will end the massive water crisis, revive our industries, support our farmers, and make South Punjab a province.
The challenges that our country faces are enormous and testing times are yet to come. Our Economy and Foreign Policy are in tatters.
Our economy today is in dire straits. Radical reforms are needed to turn it into an economy that works and benefits the majority, rather than a privileged few. And just as important, the question of Pakistan still being on FATF blacklist needs to be addressed with the gravity it deserves.
Let me remind the PM elect of a few promises that he made to the people of this country before being “selected” for this position. Let me remind him that he said that – he’d rather commit suicide than go around with a begging bowl asking for loans. Let me remind him, that he categorically said that he will not go to the IMF. I look forward to hearing from him what alternative plans he now has, to avert this crisis of epic proportions.
Let me also remind PM elect that Pakistan stands isolated today. Pakistan has lost its prestige and say in the comity of nations.
Despite having sacrificed thousands of lives in war against terrorists, today it’s Pakistan that is being blamed, Pakistan that is being portrayed as part of the problem rather than part of a solution.
While this narrative is deeply hurtful, we must also have the courage to look within. While Khan Saahab in the past has glorified and sympathized with extremist forces, let me categorically say this and put it on record that our failure to look within has jeopardized us. Not only our relations – with our neighbours and with the world at large. But most importantly, it has and continues to jeapordize our future. The future of the children of this nation.
A strong Foreign Policy has been the work of every PPP Government. Be it in the time of Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto or Shaheed Benazir Bhutto or our last government.
And I expect that all matters, including foreign policy will be brought before this House, and at every step, this House will be taken into confidence.
The fact is, however he got here, he will now be the PM of this worthy nation – and the people of Pakistan are looking at him. And holding him accountable to ensure that his words translate into actions – through us – their elected representatives.
Main PM elect ko mubarakbaad dainay kay saath saath yeh yaad dilata chaloon kay woh kisi makhsoos jamaat kay Wazeer-e-Azam nahin banay hain.
He is the Prime Minister of all Pakistanis. He is the Prime Minister of the Pakistanis he called zinda laash. He is the Prime Minister of the Pakistanis he considered donkeys. And he is the Prime Minister of the Pakistanis he thinks are goats and sheep.
Wazeer-e-Azam Pakistan ki haisiyat main, Mr. Speaker, mujhay umeed hai kay Khan Sahaab maazi kay nafrat angaiz bayanaat nahin duhraayain gay. Apni inteha pasandi ki siyasat say guraiz karain gay. Aur jis intolerance kay culture ko aaj tak farogh daitay aaye hain, usay dafan kar kay – puray mulk ko saath lay kar chalain gay.
However, if the PM elect persists in spreading intolerance and fanning the flames of bigotry; if he undermines the dignity of this House or the supremacy of the Constitution of Pakistan; he will have to go through us as he will find us opposing him every step of the way.
Because the Pakistan Peoples Party never has, and never will compromise on the interest of the people. And this is something that I want to make very clear to the incoming PM.
However, agar PM elect nai Constitutional Supremacy, Parliamentary Supremacy, and greater public interest ko apna maqsad banaya, if he rejects his own previous divisive rhetoric, he will then find us in support.
Finally Mr. Speaker, I congratulate the PM select, and wish him good luck!