ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan has formed an inquiry committee to probe into the video scandal of alleged vote-trading by certain members of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Assembly during the Senate elections for the year 2018.
According to sources, a three-member committee of the federal cabinet comprising Interior Minister Shahzad Akbar, Science and Technology Minister Fawad Chaudhry and Human Rights Minister Dr Shireen Mazari will probe into the matter. Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) would also assist the committee.
Later in the day, Prime Minister Imran also confirmed the probe into the scandal through FIA during an interview. PM Imran said that the committee will review all constitutional and legal aspects and make recommendations to the federal government.
He added that after the probe, the names of those responsible for the vote-trading would be shared with the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) so that appropriate action against the culprits may be taken.
The premier said that everyone knows that, for the past 30 years, money has been misused by politicians to win the Senate elections.
“We have come to know that bids are being held again for the upcoming Senate elections. We have come to know that the bids are ranging from 50 to 70 crore for getting elected one Senator.
“So if people who make decisions about the future of the country would sell their conscience, then how the government can stop the SHOs [station house officers] and Patwaris [from not taking bribes],” argued the prime minister.
The PM pondered what would be the worth of those politicians who sell their conscience for money.
When asked whether if he had already seen had the video went which viral recently, PM Imran said if he had gotten hold of the video before, he would have presented it immediately as evidence to the Supreme Court (SC).
“The issue is not about the timing of the video but the sale and purchase of lawmakers. I have formed a committee to probe the video. The committee would get the probe conducted through the FIA. Once the probe is finalised, the committee’s recommendations will be sent to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for further action,” the premier observed.
The prime minister said that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) had formed the government in KP in year 2013.
“My statement is on record as in Senate elections held in the year 2015, I had warned my party lawmakers about horse-trading. Then in the 2018 elections, I issued show-cause notices to PTI members who were found involved in the vote-trading and also took action,” he said.
Replying to a question about the secret ballot, PM Imran said that he had no fears for the secret ballot.
“I believe the Opposition would again cry foul like they [have done] of late,” he said, likely referring to the no-confidence motion against the Senate chairman. “Secret ballot always benefits the government as treasury gets more seats,” he observed.
Talking about the opposition’s alliance of the PDM, Imran said the PDM is a gang of thieves and not a democratic movement.
“It (The PDM) is a thieves’ protection movement,” concluded the prime minister.
On the occasion, the premier said that the depreciation of the rupee increases inflation.
“If the dollar prices surge, then everything becomes more expensive. The salaried class gets most hit in such a case. If the salaries of the employees are increased then our deficit will increase and inflation will also increase too. So, the government employees should be patient,” he said while responding to a question about the recent strike by government employees for pay raise.
“The government employees had earlier agreed on 24 per cent pay raise but later on they increased their demand once more,” he added.