ISLAMABAD: “We welcome (you) back to the purana Pakistan,” top opposition leader Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said on Sunday, as he took a jibe at ousted Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan following the adoption of a no-confidence vote against him.
Khan, who came to power in 2018 with promises to create a ‘Naya Pakistan’, was unceremoniously removed from the office, becoming the first premier in the country’s history to be ousted through a no-trust motion.
Despite the government’s hectic efforts to avoid voting on the no-confidence motion against Khan, the joint opposition succeeded in its month-long efforts to oust Khan from the prime minister’s office as 174 members of the 342-member National Assembly voted against him after a day of high drama.
“I would like to congratulate the whole nation and this House, as for the first time in the history of the country, a no-confidence motion has succeeded and we have made history,” Bilawal said.
Speaking on the occasion, the PPP chairman recalled the significance of April 10, adding that on this day, the country approved the 1973 Constitution. “On April 10, 1986, Benazir Bhutto ended her self-imposed exile and arrived in Lahore to launch her struggle against Ziaul haq,” said Bilawal as he recalled his mother.
The Pakistan Peoples Party chairman said that on April 10, 2022, the person who was declared “selected” by the Opposition and proved himself to be an “undemocratic burden” on the country saw the end of his rule.
“Today, on April 10, 2022, we welcome [you] back to the purana (old) Pakistan,” said Bilawal, who is likely to be appointed the next foreign minister.
Khan was dogged by claims of economic mismanagement as his government battled depleting foreign exchange reserves and double-digit inflation.
He apparently also lost the support of the powerful army after he refused to endorse the appointment of the ISI spy agency chief last year. Finally, he agreed but it soured his ties with the powerful army, which has ruled the coup-prone country for more than half of its 75 years of existence and has hitherto wielded considerable power in the matters of security and foreign policy.
Bilwal, the lawmaker from Larkana, said that he had joined the National Assembly only three to four years ago, adding that whatever he has learned during this time is probably more than he had learnt throughout his life.
“I have a message for the Pakistani youth that they should never give up on their dreams as nothing is impossible. Democracy is the best revenge. Pakistan Zindabad,” said Bilawal.
PML-N president Shahbaz Sharif, who is expected to be chosen as the new prime minister, said that the joint Opposition — once it forms a government in the Centre — would not take revenge against their political opponents.
“…we thank everyone for their sacrifices, and now, once again, a Pakistan based on Constitution and law is about to come into existence,” the PML-N president told the National Assembly after Imran Khan’s ouster, hoping that the alliance moves the country towards progress.
Shahbaz said this might be the first time in Pakistan that the country’s daughters and sisters were sent to prison, but maintained that he wanted to forget the past and move forward.
“When the time comes, we will speak in detail, but we want to heal the wounds of the nation; we will not send innocent people to jails, and we will not take revenge,” Shabaz said, noting that the law will take its course without interference
“Neither I, nor Bilawal, and nor will Maulana Fazlur Rehman will interfere. Law will be upheld and we will respect the judiciary,” Shahbaz said.
Maryam Sharif, the daughter of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, also hailed the verdict and tweeted, “The nightmare for my beloved Pakistan is over. Time to heal and repair. Pakistan Zindabad Nawaz Sharif Zindabad.”