PPP challenges legality of ban on using word ‘selected’ for PM Imran

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) vowed to oppose the ban imposed by the National Assembly deputy speaker on the use of the word ‘selected’ for Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Party co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari questioned the legitimacy of the move and said the PPP would hold consultations with lawyers to ascertain all possible legal options.

In an informal talk with reporters on Monday morning, the former president said all parliamentarians should deliberate on the issue. “We must ascertain whether the government even has the authority to impose such a ban,” said Zardari.

Similarly, PPP Vice President Senator Sherry Rehman said the ban on the word ‘selected’ was a manifestation of the prime minister’s insecurities.

“PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari was the first person to use the word ‘selected’ for PM Imran. It is quite telling to see that this word has now become a part of Imran Khan’s identity; this single word sums up his political journey,” she said.

She said imposing such a ban only serves to validate the assertion that PM Imran was handpicked for Pakistan’s highest office. “If the premier has not been selected, then why is the word being banned?”

The senator also called out what she termed the premier’s hypocrisy on the matter. “A little while back, Imran Khan was clapping when the word was used [in NA] but now he is endorsing this ban. It is amusing to see a person [PM Imran] who used words such as dacoits and thieves for political opponents be this afraid of a word as inane as selected.”

She also took a swipe at the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s performance in government. “If Imran’s selectors had first helped him become a councillor in Mianwali in the past, maybe Pakistan would not be in the condition it is today. This is what happens when a person who cannot even win a councillor’s election is made the prime minister of a country,” said Rehman.

The senator concluded her remarks with a vow to oppose the PTI-led government’s attempts to stifle criticism. “They [the government] can impose as many restrictions as they want, but the public will always know that their prime minister has been selected for the post.”

The PPP’s reaction came after NA Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri directed MNAs to refrain from using the word ‘selected’ for Prime Minister Imran Khan.

“The members of the assembly have been elected through votes and the house will not tolerate any insult to them,” he said during Sunday’s NA session.