After a scandalous video of PTI lawmakers allegedly receiving bribe before the Senate elections of 2018 went viral on social media on Tuesday, former PTI lawmaker Ubaid Ullah Mayar has confessed to taking bribe worth Rs10 million.
While speaking to Mayar said that he took the money on the “directives of the then chief minister of KP, Pervez Khattak.” Mayar said that the PTI-led provincial government had “paid Rs10 million to all MPAs.”
He said that incident took place at the National Assembly speaker’s house and it was the “provincial government which paid money to the MPAs and then made a video.” He went on to say that he was “not aware of being filmed at the time of receiving the money.”
“At that time, Pervez Khattak had formed a committee of 17 MPAs and asked us to vote for them, paid us the money, and promised to give us party’s tickets,” he alleged.
He said that he even went to the High Court in relation to the matter, adding that he “stands by [his] statement and is “not afraid of anyone.” “I know the reality of Pervez Khattak as well as National Assembly’s Speaker Asad Qaiser,” he said. “These two made the video, paid us, and the place shown in the video is the speaker’s house.”
Responding to a question regarding two people from another party who could be seen taking money in the video, Mayar said that “Pervez Khattak had promised to make them ministers if they joined the PTI,” adding that the “promise was later fulfilled”.
He said that he was asked to return the money on the suspicion that he did not vote for PTI’s candidate.
Govt to launch probe into the matter
KP’s Special Assistant to the Chief Minister on Science and Technology and Information Technology Kamran Khan Bangash said that the KP government will form an independent inquiry commission to probe the scandalous video, adding that the government will not only investigate the matter but strict action will be taken against all those involved.
A video of PTI lawmakers allegedly receiving bribes before the Senate elections in 2018 surfaced on social media on Tuesday amid the heated debate between the government and Opposition on the issue of balloting for this year’s Senate elections.
In the video, stacks of currency could be seen sitting atop a table in front of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa PTI MPAs. Current KP Law Minister Sultan Mohammad Khan and MPA Ubaid Mayar can be seen in the video as well.
Former PPP MPA Mohammad Ali Bacha can be seen handing over the stacks to the PTI parliamentarians. PTI’s Sultan Mohammad Khan can be seen receiving money in the video and keeping it in a bag.
Sardar Idrees, another former MPA of the PTI, can also be seen taking money. Another former PTI MPA Meraj Humayun can be seen in the video, receiving the money and putting it in a bag as can another former MPA of the party, Dina Khan.
The government and the Opposition parties are at loggerheads over the issue of open balloting in the upcoming Senate elections. The Opposition has rejected the government’s demands to hold an open ballot during the polls.
The government, on the other hand, has blamed the Opposition of bribing parliamentarians in the past to secure votes for the secret balloting in the Senate elections.
Reports had emerged in 2018 that at least 17 MPAs of the PTI had voted for candidates other than their own party in the Senate elections which ultimately led the PPP to win two seats from the KP where it only had two senators.
The alleged horse-trading angered Prime Minister Imran Khan. A subsequent inquiry spearheaded by former KP chief minister Pervaiz Khattak found various MPAs guilty of selling their votes to rival parties.
Bacha, the former PPP MPA who can be seen allegedly distributing the currency notes to the PTI lawmakers, spoke to Geo News to say that the video was an edited one. “Neither did I pay anyone nor did I receive [any bribe],” he said, adding that two separate videos were joined together to make this one.
Imran Khan’s response
In 2018, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chief Imran Khan revealed the names of lawmakers who sold votes during the Senate elections and announced to expel them from the party. The PTI chief said that nobody took any action was not on the buying and selling of votes during the Senate election. Imran claimed that between 30-40 votes were sold in the Senate elections.
Nargis Ali, Dina Naz, Nagina Khan, Naseem Hayat, and Fauzia Bibi were named as the female PTI lawmakers who had sold votes. Among the male PTI lawmakers who were found guilty of selling votes by PTI’s investigation committee were Sardar Idrees, Obaid Mayar, Zahid Duranni, Abdul Haq, Qurban Khan, Amjid Afridi, Javed Naseem, Yasin Khali, Faisal Zaman, and Sami Alizayi.
The PTI chief also named Mairaj Humayun from Qaumi Watan Party, Khatoon Bibi and Babar Saleem from Awami Jamhuri Ittehad Pakistan, and Wajeeh uz Zaman from Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz for being involved in selling votes during the elections of the Upper House of the Parliament.
Analysts believe that Prime Minister Imran Khan took a principled stance and introduced the idea of holding the Senate Election through an open show of hands. Chairman Senate Sadiq Sanjrani has backed holding Senate elections via open ballot in his response to a reference pertaining to the matter filed by the government in the Supreme Court.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab, and Balochistan governments have also backed the federal government’s opinion of holding open-ballot polls, while Sindh has rejected the idea.
Although the government has filed a reference to seeking the apex court’s opinion about holding the election through an open ballot, yet an ordinance has been issued to apply the same. Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) Khalid Jawed Khan has argued that the ordinance was promulgated in the context since the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) was going to issue the Senate elections schedule on Feb 11 when the apex court was hearing the reference, explaining that the entire exercise would become academic if the court would give its opinion after Feb 12.