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Bilawal warns of bloody elections without reforms

Says he was threatened night before no-trust vote to ‘either accept snap polls or face martial law’

Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari on Thursday warned that the next elections could be bloody if all political parties failed to reach a consensus on a basic code of conduct for polls in light of the increasing polarisation and divide in the county.

Speaking in the National Assembly (NA), Bilawal, who is PPP Chairman, made his party’s policy on the future of the country clear, declaring “first reforms, then elections”. “We will have to sit together and brainstorm about the electoral reforms.”

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He went on to say that the country’s political parties were in consensus over the Charter of Democracy (CoD) – a 36-point document signed by the PPP and PML-N in May 2006. The foreign minister said that while there was work remaining on the implementation of the CoD and a long way to go before a second such document was made, there should at the very least be a “minimal code of conduct”.

Turning his guns towards the PTI, he called for the formation of a parliamentary body to investigate the events that occurred after April 3 – when the former NA deputy speaker had dismissed the no-trust move against Imran by terming it contradictory to Article 5.

“The situation in Pakistan is at a crisis point. There are no doubts about this,” he said, noting that all institutions in the country were made controversial over the whims of the former premier.

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He also claimed that a night before the NA passed the no-confidence motion against Imran Khan, one of his ministers had threatened him to either accept early elections or face martial law.

“I would like to share with this house that the night before the no-confidence motion [was passed], I was sent a message, a threat that either we accept early elections or face martial law,” he said on the floor of the NA, adding that this threat was conveyed to him by a government minister via a colleague.

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