PM says secret balloting will help govt bag more votes
ISLAMABAD – Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday dismissed notions that he had ‘votes- selling video’ of Senate elections in 2018, asserting that “If I had this video earlier, I would have presented it as evidence in the court.”
While talking to reporters in Rawalpindi’s Kallar Syedan the Prime Minister said that the question is not about the timing of the video but what it has proved. The footage showed handing over of large sums of money, reportedly Rs20 million, to various provincial lawmakers belonging to the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and other parties.
The premier noted that the opposition was supporting a corrupt system by opposing the open balloting, saying, Maulana Fazlur Rehman is the biggest beneficiary of that system. He revealed that the price of one seat of the Senate is being set at Rs500million to Rs700million. “How is it possible that those who take the reins of power through money don’t seek more of it afterwards,” he questioned. “The opposition would highly regret it if there was secret voting in the Senate,” Prime Minister said and added, “As for the government, it would only help them bag more votes.” He was apparently responding to the notion that the open balloting was an attempt by the government to restrain its ministers from changing loyalties in the forthcoming Senate polls.
Imran Khan said corrupt practices in the Senate elections are negation of democracy and vote-purchase is a big question mark over the credibility of politicians adding that a big question lays ahead, whether to go for Senate polls with the old corrupt system or to act transparent instead.
The Prime Minister recalled that he ousted 20 MPAs from his party who took money for votes in the last Senate elections and some of them also invoked the jurisdiction of the court against the action.
He said the alliance of Opposition parties is making efforts to protect their corruption and ill-gotten money.
The Prime Minister said currently, the rate for a single Senate vote has been fixed which is unfortunate.
He said those involved in such extravagance will later recover by minting money from the public exchequer.
Imran Khan said he has been advocating for an open ballot for the last five year.
The Prime Minister said that Pakistan Muslim League-N and Pakistan Peoples’ Party had signed a Charter of Democracy and agreed for an open ballot; however they changed their minds to support their corruption.
He said we want to change the system for the benefit of the country and to end corruption.
Turning to economic situation of the country, the Prime Minister said during PPP government, the rupee got weaken about 25 per cent while during PTI government rupees value declined by 24.5 per cent against dollars.
He expressed the hope that with continuity of trend in growth of exports, the situation will improve.
Earlier, addressing a ceremony in connection with the second phase of Ehsaas Kafalat Program at Kallar Syedan, Imran has assured to fully support and provide social protection to the poor segments of the society.
The Prime Minister said the scope of Ehsaas Program will be further expanded to meet the basic necessities of the deserving families.
Imran Khan said that seven million families will benefit from the second phase of Ehsaas Kafalat program. He said the disbursements will be made in the most transparent manner without any favoritism or political basis.
The Prime Minister said the poor families will also be provided with health insurance cards under which they will be able to get medical treatment worth seven hundred and fifty thousand rupees per annum.
Apart from the cash assistance, the Prime Minister said the poor families will also be provided with assistance so that they could start their own businesses.
The Prime Minister said the students of deserving families are also being provided with scholarships including at the level of under graduates so that they could also excel in their life.
Imran Khan said another program has also been started with the cooperation of an NGO to help the poor families build their own houses. He said Naya Pakistan Housing program will also provide shelter to the shelter-less people.
Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Poverty Alleviation Dr. Sania Nishtar while briefing the Prime Minister about Ehsaas Kafalat Program on the occasion said that seven million deserving families will become part of it by June this year.
Under this program, she said that cash assistance of twelve thousand rupees will be given to each deserving family for six months.
Sania Nishtar said that non deserving families have been removed from the Ehsaas program.
Narrating their stories of pain and agony, the beneficiaries of Ehsaas Kafalat Program thanked Prime Minister Imran Khan for extending assistance to the poor families. Ends