ISLAMABAD - PTI Chairman Imran Khan on Tuesday strongly criticised the 20th Amendment and its passage through the National Assembly and the Senate terming it the worst kind of horse trading.

It has once again proved that the main opposition party, the PML-N, continues to play out the farce of being an Opposition in the Centre whereas in reality it was bolstering the wrongdoings of the government so that both could have a share in the corrupt power structures prevailing at present, Khan said this in a statement issued here.

According to him, the release of Rs 366.1 million in a matter of five hours for Senators, simply to get the 20th Amendment through the Senate, was a despicable reflection of the shameful antics of the country’s legislators. While money cannot be found for development in Balochistan or giving relief to the common citizen in terms of fuel and utility prices, money is readily available for bribery and corruption.

Khan declared that the 20th Amendment itself is a fraud on the Constitution because it condones elections carried out against the provisions of the Constitution. First the government commits a violation of the Constitution, then it brings a constitutional amendment to condone the wrongdoing.

On the issue of the caretaker government, Khan objected that the 20th Amendment is stacked up against the PTI in particular which is becoming a real electoral threat to both the PPP and the PML-N. The appointment of the caretaker prime minister/chief ministers is all in the hands of the partisan and biased prime minister/chief ministers and leader of the opposition which will not allow for a levelplaying field for other parties - especially the new and strong third force of the PTI. To make matters worse, the Election Commission itself will be based on the choice of the partisan and biased prime minister and leader of the opposition rather than being a truly democratic procedure through consultation of all the registered political parties.

Imran Khan found it shocking that the Election Commission has been conferred the final authority to choose a caretaker prime minister/chief minister which is unheard of anywhere in the democratic world. Election Commissions are meant to check governments during election process and ensure non-interference and strict neutrality. The Election Commission appointing a caretaker government will divest itself from performing its vital task of ensuring free, fair and transparent elections.

He declared that clearly the deal-making on the 20th Amendment by the PPP and PML-N has been done to fortify themselves against their fast dwindling power in the electorate and to try and stack the deck against the PTI in the next general elections. The PTI Chairman firmly rejected this Amendment as it violated the spirit of the Constitution and democratic principles.