The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on Monday announced that the party’s senior leadership has assented to the decision to dissolve the Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa assemblies in a bid to ratchet up pressures against the ruling coalition to announce early elections.
Former information minister Fawad Chaudhry, addressing the media, confirmed the development.
“As you know that we have already announced that we are exiting provincial assemblies. A decision to dissolve both the Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa assemblies has been approved,” Fawad announced.
Fawad Chahudry (@fawadchaudhry ) announcing the decision taken by senior leadership regarding dissolution of assemblies. pic.twitter.com/uolRbmG64D— PTI (@PTIofficial) November 28, 2022
The party leaders are confident that the strategic move would sound the “death knell” for the ruling coalition and trigger fresh polls amid heightened tensions. On the other hand, the ruling coalition has also swung into action to bar PTI from dissolving the assemblies, mulling several options at its disposal to beat back the move, including a no-trust motion.
PTI chief Imran Khan had sprung the much-touted surprise on the government during his first in-person address to the mammoth rally in Rawalpindi on Saturday after he escaped an assassination attempt earlier this month.
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Upping the ante in his drive to force the coalition government into early elections, the former prime minister said he had decided to opt out of a “corrupt system and quit all assemblies”.
“My party has decided not to remain part of the current political system and will instead resign from all the assemblies,” Imran said.
Flurry of political activities
Meanwhile, a flurry of political activities was witnessed on Monday as the party began its labour to put the word into action.
Fawad also revealed Imran held a meeting with K-P Chief Minister Mehmood Khan earlier in the day and will meet with Punjab CM Pervaiz Elahi on Tuesday (today) to discuss the dissolution of the provincial legislatures.
“Parliamentary boards have also been formed to award the party tickets [for elections],” he said.
Fawad said the assemblies will be dissolved following the Punjab and K-P’s parliamentary meetings scheduled to be held on Friday and Saturday, respectively.
Also read: Imran springs 'surprise' on govt
It may be noted here that CM Pervez Elahi had on Sunday brushed aside concerns of any resistance from him regarding PTI’s planned dissolution of Punjab assembly, acknowledging that he owed his government to Imran Khan and would oblige to his instructions immediately.
Earlier, all 26 PTI MPAs from Sindh submitted their resignations to the party's parliamentary leader Khurram Sher Zaman at the directives of party chief Imran Khan.
Khurram, while confirming the development, said that opposition leader Haleem Adil Shaikh is also aware of the situation and he will submit the resignations to the Sindh Assembly as soon as he instructs.
Imran – whose party is at the helm of affairs in power in Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan – sprung the surprise card on the government at the Rawalpindi rally in an apparently proverbial ‘burn-the-boats’ decision, staking his provincial governments on a bid to trigger early elections “as the nation stands at the crossroads”.
It was being reported that the 'masterstroke' was up Imran's sleeve until Saturday's mega rally and even the party workers were not filled in on the plan.
“They [government] cannot afford Islamabad march... they cannot stop millions from entering Islamabad. We could have created Sri Lanka-like situation,” Imran had said while announcing the decision at the rally.
“If riots take place then things will get out of everyone’s hands. I tried my best not to take any step which could create chaos in the country,” he stressed and said that instead of causing harm to our country, it was better to “leave this corrupt system”.
Imran further said that his party did not come to Rawalpindi for elections or politics but emphasised that it was the need of the country to have fresh elections. He added he did not care about elections since they would be held in nine months and his party would win them anyway.
The former prime minister – ousted in April through an assemblage of opposition parties – had embarked on the long march in October from Lahore with the demand. The march was temporarily halted after the gun attack on him on November 3.
Azam Swati’s re-arrest condemned
Meanwhile, Fawad, during the media interaction, said that the party’s central leadership condemned the re-arrest of PTI Senator Azam Swati, who was taken into custody on Sunday for allegedly tweeting against senior military officials.
The PTI leader said his party workers and supporters had been subjected to “oppression and victimisation” since May this year and criticised the courts for overlooking the alleged torture on party leaders.
“Before Azam Swati, Shahbaz Gill was arrested and tortured before being stripped naked but no one took notice and the court turned a blind eye.”
Fawad Chahudry (@fawadchaudhry ) talks about the fascism of imported govt. pic.twitter.com/mdqpypsqwY— PTI (@PTIofficial) November 28, 2022
Likewise, Fawad said 75-year-old Swati was “abducted” merely for asking questions from powerful quarters.
An FIR against Swati was registered by the FIA Cyber Crime Wing on November 26, a copy of which is available with The Express Tribune, over ‘controversial’ tweets he had posted recently allegedly against government functionaries, including the chief of the army staff (COAS).
The report maintained that the PTI leader had started a “highly obnoxious campaign of intimidating tweets” against state institutions, including the army chief “with mala fide intentions and ulterior motives”.
The FIR was registered on the complaint of the state through Islamabad Cyber Crime Reporting Centre Technical Assistant Aneesur Rehman.
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