Says govt will try to delay elections via ECP
Former prime minister Imran Khan on Saturday said that his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party will dissolve both Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab assemblies on Friday, December 23.
“We will sacrifice both assemblies… we are sacrificing them for this nation… there will be elections in 66 per cent of Pakistan,” he said while addressing his supporters at Lahore’s Liberty Chowk via video link.
“We will dissolve Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab assemblies next Friday and will prepare for elections.”
Imran said that PTI will go to the National Assembly speaker and ask him to accept the resignations of all PTI lawmakers. “Last time they chose only eight constituencies which were our weakest to conduct by-elections, but I contested elections on all eight seats and won seven of them,” he said.
“Now the wisdom says go for general elections. But they will not conduct the polls but we will go for elections ourselves. They will try to delay it via Election Commission of Pakistan, but the Constitution is clear that you cannot delay elections for more than 90 days,” he maintained.
Imran made the announcement with Punjab Chief Minister Parvez Elahi and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Mahmood Khan by his side.
Imran thanked the two provincial chiefs for their cooperation with his party and said that he had consulted PTI’s lawyers about the move, adding that the Constitution did not allow elections to be delayed beyond 90 days of an assembly’s dissolution.
Last month, Imran said that his party would disassociate itself from the “current corrupt political system” by quitting the two provincial assemblies.
Elaborating on the PTI’s plan of action after dissolving the assemblies, Imran said: “Then we will prepare for elections after that and our around 130 seats in the National Assembly, we will go to the NA speaker and demand him to accept our resignations instead of picking a few.”
Imran told the nation to refrain from being disappointed, saying it was akin to “running away from our duty to society”. He said a “lesson should be taught through elections” to the government and deal it “such a defeat that the names of these thieves are wiped out forever”.
He said the country would “stand up” when “tough decisions” would be taken, not about increases in prices, but, “restructuring institutions and establishing justice in the country”.
Imran said a government with a fresh mandate and the nation’s support behind it would be able to raise its stature.
At the outset of his address, Imran said the country needed “fresh and fair elections as “we fear the country is drowning.” He lamented that skilled people and professionals were leaving the country in droves.
“My question today is, who was responsible for this regime change?” he said, referring to his government’s ouster via a no-confidence motion earlier this year.
Imran said unemployment and inflation were on the rise and foreign confidence in the country had eroded, leading to investments drying up.
“Our loans are piling up. There was only one way to solve this which we did: to increase the country’s wealth. They (the government) don’t have a plan.”
Imran concerned that govt may try to delay elections even beyond Oct.
Imran said free and fair elections were the only solution to the country’s problems and said the government was “afraid” of new elections due to the fear of losing.
The PTI chairman once again raised the question of who was actually responsible for the current affairs of the country. “Only one man is responsible: General (Retd) [Qamar Javed] Bajwa. I didn’t speak out against him because he was the army chief,” Imran added.
“We want our army to be strong so we kept quiet and kept looking at how the conspiracy happened.” He said the former army chief had “decided to remove us (PTI government)”.
Chief Minister of Punjab Chaudhary Pervez Elahi, while responding to the announcement of date by Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chief, said that he was satisfied with the decision of Imran Khan and he had supported Imran Khan for long time.
The chief ministers of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa participated in the meeting. Also present were the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid leaders.
The leaders discussed various options. Sources said the PML-Q stated that a suitable time would be chosen for dissolution of assemblies. However, they said, the ultimate decision was in the hand of Imran Khan.
Pervez Elahi said after attending the session that Imran Khan owed Punjab assembly and we will support the chairman PTI’s policies.
Elahi further said Imran Khan had defeated his political rivals and those spreading conspiracies would be unsuccessful. Chaudhary Moonis Elahi said that our alliance was stronger than before.