Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari on Sunday termed the ouster of former prime minister Imran Khan through a no-confidence motion as progress for Pakistan’s democracy.
The minister made the remarks while addressing the closing ceremony of the Asma Jahangir Conference in Lahore.
The foreign minister’s speech was interrupted at times by sloganeering from the audience. In one instance, a group of participants stood up and chanted slogans demanding the release of incarcerated MNA Ali Wazir.
At the outset of his speech, Bilawal talked about how Imran was ousted through a no-confidence motion. He stated that “false equivalence” was being given to the end of the PTI government and previous governments.
He termed Imran’s ouster a “big victory” for the progress of Pakistan’s democracy and parliament. “Imran is the first premier to be sent packing in the form of a no-confidence motion […] there is only one legitimate and democratic way to remove a prime minister and bring in another, through a no-confidence motion.”
He lamented that in the past premiers were exiled, hanged or killed in bomb blasts. “So this is progress for our democratic system that we sent a premier packing through parliament.”
The minister hoped that this precedent would continue in the future.
In his speech, FM Bilawal also criticised Imran for his governance, saying that the PTI chief deliberately endangered the economy on his way out. Imran thought that if he endangered the economy, the people would blame his successor, he said, adding that the country was in danger of defaulting.
“To play with the health of a country’s economy, to play Russian roulette with the country’s economy […] was an injustice with the people of Pakistan.”
FM Bilawal also talked about the devastating floods in the country, terming it to be a “climate catastrophe, the likes of which we’ve never seen”.
“The cameras have gone. There are no more viral videos on social media. But our brothers and sisters are still [suffering],” he said, adding that some parts of Sindh and Balochistan were still under water.
“Thirty three million is such a big number, I find it hard to quantify. It means one out of seven Pakistanis have been affected.”
This is a historic climate catastrophe, he said, adding that this should be the main issue for all citizens and politicians. He added that the world should be informed that Pakistan was not fault for the devastation it was facing.
“Pakistan contributes 0.8 per cent to the global carbon footprint as far as climate change is concerned. We are the eighth most climate stressed country on the planet,” he said, adding that Pakistan was paying the price of industrialisation of rich countries.
Bilawal said that in the rehabilitation and reconstruction phase, Pakistan would build back better, greener and in a more resilient manner. He called for all political parties to formulate a joint strategy on climate catastrophes.