PESHAWAR/ ISLAMABAD/ LAHORE:
A day after PTI chief Imran Khan announced to opt out of the “current corrupt political system” by quitting the assemblies, Punjab Chief Minister Chaudhry Pervez Elahi on Sunday assured that he wouldn’t "wait for a minute" to dissolve the Punjab Assembly if the former premier asks him.
Elahi, whose party is an ally of the PTI in Punjab, expressed full support for Imran’s decision to exit from the provincial assemblies in a bid to trigger elections. "Imran Khan entrusted the Punjab government to [me]. We stand with those whom we support," the chief minister said.
Elahi’s statement comes as political observers doubted whether the provincial chief executive would fall in line with Imran’s plans to stake the provincial governments on success.
“We never break the trust of those we swear allegiance to,” he added.
During Saturday’s public meeting in Rawalpindi, Imran had said that a decision would only be taken after consultations with chief ministers in provinces, while a final decision in this regard would be made after a meeting of the PTI’s parliamentary party.
The Punjab chief minister also warned the PML-N-led coalition government in the Centre that in case PTI and its allies exit the country's assemblies, then their "government, which expands over a mere 27kms, won't last for the next 27 hours".
He further stated that Imran Khan had been granted a second life by the Almighty, and after the former premier’s announcement at the Rawalpindi public gathering, his political strategy entered a decisive phase, adding that the massive crowd proved the former premier’s popularity.
He said that once the PTI and its allies began to quit the assemblies, the ruling coalition would fall apart at the seams. He warned the PML-N "show-offs” of unprecedented defeat once the country-wide elections are held, saying the humiliation would be remembered for generations to come.
Commenting on the governance in Punjab, Elahi highlighted that the country will now have religious and fair governance which would benefit the poor and common man. He added that religious governance has already been initiated in Punjab, and one of its examples is the free treatment of cancer being offered across the province for public welfare.
Meanwhile, PTI MPA Azizullah Gran of the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) Assembly on Sunday became the first lawmaker to submit his resignation to the chief minister after his chairman and deposed premier Imran Khan's call for the party to quit the provincial legislatures a day earlier to force the incumbent government to hold snap elections.
Gran, who was elected from the constituency of PK-4 Swat-III and also headed the standing committee on minerals, has kicked off the process of resignations from K-P Assembly.
Talking to The Express Tribune, Gran said the K-P Assembly seat held no status for him.
“I am resigning in writing to fulfill the order of party chairman Imran Khan,” he added.
He further said the seat was entrusted to him by Imran and the party.
“I am announcing my resignation from the K-P Assembly as per Imran Khan's order,” Gran said.
On Saturday, after being disappointed with the Supreme Court and establishment for not facilitating to hold early general elections, the PTI chairman had changed his strategy wherein he has decided to quit from all provincial assemblies.
If that happens, then the PTI’s governments in the provinces of Punjab and K-P will also come to an end.
Now, a debate has started as to why Imran had announced leaving the assemblies and would this strategy be successful.
First, Imran wants early elections because of his popularity among the people and it will be easy for the PTI to win the majority of the seats at present.
Secondly, the sword of disqualification is hanging over the PTI chief in several matters, especially the Toshakhana and prohibited funding cases.
An estranged PTI leader said if the PTI quit the Punjab Assembly then the PML-N might form its government in the province.
Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah while speaking on a private TV news channel said a resolution would be submitted immediately to the Punjab Assembly for a no-confidence vote against Chief Minister Chaudhry Parvez Elahi, a PML-Q stalwart.
In case of the submission of a no-confidence resolution against him, the CM cannot dissolve the assembly.
Chaudhry Moonis Elahi, the chief minister’s son, has announced that whenever Imran asked, the Punjab Assembly would be dissolved immediately.
However, political analysts say that if 'powerful circles' oppose the dissolution of the Punjab Assembly, then the CM might also act upon their advice as he has a long-term association with them.
On the other hand, the situation is in favour of the PTI in the province of K-P.
If the PTI quits the K-P Assembly, then there is no option other than holding elections.
Ever since, the PTI resigned en masse from the National Assembly back in April, it took to the streets and demanded snap elections.
The PTI leadership was repeatedly asked why it did not force elections on the ruling alliance by dissolving the Punjab and K-P assemblies or resigning en masse from the provincial assemblies, where it was in power.
Imran conditionally answered the question on Saturday when he maintained that the PTI would not be part of the “corruption system” anymore, saying he would consult the chief ministers and parliamentary parties before announcing his future course of action.
The government ministers, however, see Imran’s announcement of dissolving or abandoning the assemblies as a face-saving attempt when he could not muster “revolution crowds”.
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