Home Latest News Bilawal Describes Imran Khan’s Decisions as ‘Mockery’ of Judicial System

Bilawal Describes Imran Khan’s Decisions as ‘Mockery’ of Judicial System

In interview, foreign minister condemns Taliban ban on girls’ education but urges international community to engage with the Afghan rulers

by Staff Report

Screengrab of Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari’s interview on ‘The Daily Show’

Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari on Tuesday said Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan’s refusal to appear in court is making a “mockery” of the country’s judicial system, adding that the former prime minister did not believe laws applied to him.

Speaking with Kal Penn on Comedy Central’s The Daily Show, he regretted that Khan was stoking unrest when Pakistan was in the midst of several simultaneous crises. “We’re caught in a situation where there’s this political chaos playing out on the streets and distracting from the real issues that are affecting everyday Pakistanis,” he said. “He’s resigned from Parliament and run away from the system. In this particular instance, it’s not a question of me wanting to arrest Mr. Khan … I would never want any politician in my country or any country to go to jail for political reasons. In Mr. Khan’s case, he’s under the threat of arrest because of his ego,” said the minister, who is also the chairman of the Pakistan Peoples Party.

Stressing that Khan believed he’s “too important” and “won’t turn up to the court,” he said the ousted prime minister’s decisions had made a “complete mockery of the judicial system in Pakistan, of rule of law, of the Constitution in Pakistan.”

To a question on whether he believed Pakistan’s democratic process was “fragile,” Bhutto-Zardari said: “Absolutely. Pakistan has been, for most of our history, under direct military dictatorship.” He said that forces who benefited from “undemocratic rule in Pakistan” had not liked to see political parties coming together after the death former prime minister Benazir Bhutto. “So they supported Mr. Khan and brought him into power. And that’s now blown up not only in those individuals’ faces, but has had severe consequences for our country,” he said.

“Unfortunately, Pakistan is facing a perfect storm. Not only do we have heightened partisanship and political polarization, to the extent that political parties or political stakeholders aren’t even in a position to sit in a room and discuss issues amongst themselves, we’re also facing an economic crisis,” he said, adding that there was also a persistent security threat from terrorists and the country had yet to fully recover from the aftermath of the biggest climate catastrophe in history.

On how the prevailing political instability was affecting Pakistan’s economy, the foreign minister explained that the deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) had been inked by the PTI-led government, which had subsequently violated it. “They put Pakistan in an extremely precarious economic situation … Our negotiations are still ongoing and have not been concluded with the IMF. I think that when Pakistan is facing such a perfect storm, some problems of our own creation, but some, like the flood and others, that are not of our own, the conversation with the IMF really should take that into account, and I don’t think it is at the moment,” he said, regretting that the IMF deal and internal economic policies were placing an outsized burden on the poorest of the poor and reforms were needed.

To a question on the effects on climate change on Pakistan, Bhutto-Zardari lamented that domestic attention and political conversation had moved on from this issue despite over 33 million lives having been impacted less than a year earlier. Urging the international community to come together to resolve the issue as it was not the problem of only one country, he stressed the problem was “too big” for just one country to handle, whether it be China or America. “This is something that the world has to come together and decide, are we going to be distracted by war and conflict and politics as usual, or are we going to find a solution to this problem?” he said, while thanking the global community for standing with Pakistan during these hard times.

Foreign ties

Responding to a question on ties between Pakistan and the U.S., particularly in the context of counter-terrorism, Bhutto-Zardari said a “fog of war” colored the perception of everyone who had been involved in the war on terror. Stressing that a Taliban-ruled Afghanistan was a reality, he said the world must show seriousness in engaging with Kabul. “I believe … the position and perspective of Pakistan and the United States, we meet eye to eye,” he said, adding past events should be examined through “honest conversations.”

He noted that as Afghanistan’s neighbor, Pakistan was forced to engage with the Taliban, but had yet to recognize them diplomatically. “We are advocating, not only for ourselves, but for the international community, to also engage with them,” he said, while acknowledging that the Taliban’s ban on girls’ education had made it “incredibly difficult” for people wanting to find solutions to the problems facing the people of Afghanistan.

The Taliban’s decisions, he said, were “not helping us help them.” Islamabad’s major concern, he said, remained that whatever happened in Afghanistan would yield consequences for Pakistan. “If the Taliban ban girls’ education, there will be politicians in our neck of the woods that will advocate for the same,” he warned.

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