PTI lawmakers preparing for provincial polls: Fawad

Both Punjab, K-P govts express full support to Imran in his decision to dissolve their assemblies


Our Correspondent December 04, 2022
PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry is addressing the media on November 28. SCREENGRAB

ISLAMABAD:

PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry on Sunday said the party’s provincial lawmakers were preparing for polls in Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa on the instructions of his chief Imran Khan, a day after the latter rescinded his offer for talks with the government for early elections.

“If [the] PDM [Pakistan Democratic Movement] continues to run away from the elections the way it has been, then we will go for provincial elections in Punjab and K-P without wasting any more time and the National Assembly elections shall take place later,” he wrote on Twitter.

Both the Punjab and K-P governments have expressed full support to Imran in his decision to dissolve the provincial assemblies.

K-P government spokesperson Barrister Muhammad Ali Saif tweeted that the federal government was “caught in [a] cyclone”, adding that it had been “left with no other option apart from calling for fresh elections”.

“K-P Assembly members stand united with Chief Minister Mahmood Khan. The assembly will be dissolved on Imran Khan’s orders,” he wrote.

Similarly, Punjab Chief Minister Chaudhry Parvez Elahi had again reiterated his allegiance to Imran and vowed to dissolve the provincial assembly -- a hard-earned crown he had received after months of toil -- on the PTI chief's call.

The Punjab CM made these remarks during a meeting with provincial assembly speaker Sibtain Khan. The meeting was also attended by the chief minister’s son, PML-Q leader Moonis Elahi.

Read ‘$43.4b loans’ taken during PTI regime

The Punjab chief minister had also expressed similar views in a tweet he wrote a day earlier.

PTI’s ally, Awami Muslim League (AML) chief Sheikh Rashid, tweeted that either Imran would receive a date for the elections by December 30 or he would dissolve the assemblies.

“The ball is in the government’s court on whether they make or break politics,” he added.

The AML chief also lashed out at the government for not being in a position to “go out into the people”.

He further wrote that former finance minister Miftah Ismail had “conducted an autopsy” of the country's economy.

Read More ‘$43.4b loans’ taken during PTI regime

On Friday, the PTI chief had softened his stance on possible talks with the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) leaders and appeared to be striking a conciliatory tone as he signalled his openness to “sit and talk and give a date for the general elections”.

However, while making the offer, he also threatened to dissolve the Punjab and K-P assemblies.

On Saturday, the federal government told the PTI chairman that the threats and dialogue offer could not go hand in hand.

Speaking at the party’s secretariat in Lahore, Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique that the coalition government would not accept a conditional dialogue offer.

Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb also tweeted in response, “October 2023” with a screenshot of a news ticker with Imran's demand on screen.

On the same day, Imran had asked his provincial legislators in K-P to start preparing for elections.

“We would dissolve the assemblies in K-P and Punjab this month,” he told the PTI's  lawmakers in Peshawar through a video link from his Zaman Park residence in Lahore.

The ousted premier regretted that the coalition government had rejected his offer for talks.

“My offer was in good faith for the sake of our nation,” he said while referring to his earlier invitation to the government to hold talks for the next elections.

Imran claimed that the rulers could not compete with the PTI, so tactics were being used to delay the elections by trying to disqualify him.

The PTI chief said the PDM government had misunderstood that he wanted to negotiate with it for reasons other than the date of the fresh polls.

He further pointed out that after his party dissolved the two assemblies, elections would be held in 66% of the country.

“When the government is engaged in the elections, it would become difficult for it to work,” he added.

Imran maintained that the government was finding it hard to run the country even before that.

“With the task of conducting elections in two provinces, it will become more difficult for it to run the country,” he predicted.

However, in a late night interview with a private TV news channel, the PTI chief said he could delay the dissolution of the assemblies if the incumbent government decided to call the general elections by the end of next March.

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