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Next elections could be ‘bloody’ if code of conduct not agreed to, warns Pakistan FM Bilawal


ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari on Thursday said that the next elections could be “bloody” if all political parties did not agree to a basic code of conduct for polls.

Bilawal, who is also the chairperson of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), while addressing the National Assembly, said, “In light of the hateful situation, we have to come together on a code of conduct (for elections) if the political forces do not come together then the next election will be bloody.” He said if the political parties chose to let go of democratic attitudes then it could lead to violent confrontation.

“We need to reconsider our approach as things are already heading that way,” he cautioned as Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) of Imran Khan demanded early elections.

He reiterated that the political parties formulate a basic code of conduct so that the country could be run and elections may be held peacefully. He said allied parties wanted another “charter of democracy”.

“Even if it doesn’t see the light of day there should be at least some sort of code of conduct,” he said.

He said the elections should be held after electoral reforms and all parliamentary parties, including PTI, should be taken on board on this issue.

“There is a need to sit together for electoral reforms involving all stakeholders, including civil society and political parties, to ensure free, fair and transparent elections,” Bilawal said.

In his speech, Bilawal also lashed out at former premier Imran Khan and others for allegedly abrogating the Constitution and attacking democracy.

The foreign minister claimed that a former minister of the Imran Khan government had approached him a day before the no-confidence motion, warning that martial law would be imposed if the Opposition did not agree to their demand for snap polls.

“Despite the provocations [by Khan]all our institutions, including the judiciary and the establishment, continued to operate within the framework of the Constitution and law, and democracy prevailed,” the foreign minister said.

Bilawal’s remarks about violence in elections came after Khan in his rallies warned of toppling the government through street power to pave the way for elections.

Khan, who was unceremoniously removed from office on April 9 through a no-confidence vote, has been holding big rallies to press the government to hold elections. He has also threatened to give a call for a march towards Islamabad after May 20.

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