FORMER Minister for Information and Broadcasting and a senior leader of PTI Fawad Chaudhry has threatened that their Party would be back on roads along with lawyers from 01 May for, what he called, restoration of the Constitution. Speaking in a television programme, he said institutions were falling apart and there seemed to be no political stability in the country.
The PTI has hinted at resumption of its street politics at a time when the Supreme Court, while hearing its petition about the delay in holding elections for the Punjab Assembly, has sought guarantees both from the Government and the PTI for maintenance of law and order to ensure conduct of the polls in a peaceful atmosphere. There is no doubt that the political parties and other segments of the society have a constitutional right to air their grievances, therefore, the PTI would be well within its right to lodge protests but these have to be strictly within the bounds of the Constitution and the law. However, we have seen protests turning into violence and chaos on different occasions in the recent past, despite assurances given to the Supreme Court to remain peaceful. Therefore, there are apprehensions that violent protests would not, in any way, help achieve the goal of early elections and has the possibility of even derailing the future plans for general elections. The Supreme Court is already seized of the matter of delay in elections in Punjab but even otherwise we have a new date of October 08 for polls of both Punjab and KP assemblies and there should be no attempt to provide justification to the Government or the Election Commission to delay the electoral process further on the plea of threats to law and order. Similarly, Fawad Chaudhry himself has acknowledged that the country was witnessing economic and political crises and it is, therefore, the responsibility of all political parties to avoid actions that could add to the uncertainty and instability. The coalition government has repeatedly been declaring publicly its commitment to hold general elections on completion of the term of the present assemblies which means polls will have to be held in October 2023. Therefore, instead of pursuing the path of confrontation, all parties should join their heads to discuss ways and means to ensure free, fair and transparent elections are held in a peaceful and smooth manner. Such a course would also lend the much-needed credibility to the electoral process and its final outcome.