Asif Ali Zardari, the incumbent president of Pakistan, and his son, Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, the current opposition leader, have both made contradictory statements about the credibility of the upcoming elections, suggesting a split in party policy.
PPP Chairman Bilawal intimated that the results of the poll might have been pre-decided, just a day after PPP Co-chairman Zardari declared the country was progressing towards honest polls.
In response to the PPP’s recent statement demanding a “level playing field” and claiming that the caretakers, who have been appointed to run the country until an elected government takes over, are favouring the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Zardari had said that “the country is moving towards transparent elections.”
Bilawal reiterated his call for honest elections during his speech at a rally in Nowshera on Monday, saying that his party would reject the results if they were tampered with.
To summarise Bilawal’s statement, “Parties with a 2/3 majority say they have reached an agreement [regarding upcoming set up],” albeit he did not specify which parties had reached an agreement with whom.
“There’s no use in having an election if the results are pre-decided,” Bilawal said, adding that if someone is chosen as prime minister, then people will stage sit-ins and protests.
Election outcomes in Pakistan are notoriously contested, with losing parties claiming fraud and winning candidates insisting on a fair process.
“We will only accept the choice of the people, not anyone else’s,” Bilawal said, adding that “transparent polls” are the only way out of the country’s current predicament.
The PML-N has been meeting with politicians in an effort to bolster their standing before the general elections that the Election Commission of Pakistan has set for February 8, 2024.
In a similar attitude, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has also asked for a level-playing field, stating that authorities were not letting the party to carry out electioneering as its chairman, Imran Khan, remains detained.
However, the PPP has also lately stated that no one would call into doubt the credibility of the polls if PTI was not permitted to participate.