Monday, December 05, 2022
Despite back-to-back deadlines of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan to dissolve assemblies, Chief Minister Punjab Chaudhry Pervez Elahi said Monday that he did not see elections taking place in the next four months.
In an interview with a private news channel, he said: "Elections cannot be held before four months; the federal and provincial governments need time to work and the elections may be delayed even after October next year."
Although the PML-Q leader had repeatedly said that he fully backs the PTI chief's decisions, his statement is in contrast with Khan's threats of dissolving the assembly soon.
PTI Senior Vice President Fawad Chaudhry has also said that Khan has advised all party lawmakers to go back to their constituencies and prepare for elections in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
CM Elahi's statement comes after Khan had just last week shared his willingness to halt the dissolution of the Punjab and KP assemblies if the coalition government agrees to conduct elections by the end of March next year.
“If they are ready for elections by the end of March, then we won't dissolve the assemblies. Otherwise, we want to conduct polls by dissolving the KP and Punjab assemblies,” Khan said in an interview with a private news channel.
He added that his party won’t agree on a date after March and assemblies will be dissolved this month [December] if the government disagrees.
In today's interview, CM Elahi also reiterated that former chief of army staff (COAS) General (retd) Qamar Javed Bajwa had asked the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid-e-Azam (PML-Q) to side with PTI.
"General Bajwa sahib asked us to support Imran Khan. God changed our paths which were headed to the PML-N (Pakistan Mulsim League-Nawaz) and sent General Bajwa to show us the way," he said.
He added that the ex-COAS did not call PML-Q stalwart Chaudhry Shujaat.
The chief minister refuted Khan's claim that the former army chief had asked a group of the party to side with the PTI and the other to support PML-N.
"I had called General Bajwa myself. The institution told me that it was better for me to side with Imran Khan," the chief minister claimed.
Last week, for the first time since spending three and a half years with Gen (retd) Bajwa, the PTI chief said: "Giving extension to him [Gen Bajwa] was my biggest mistake."
“I would trust whatever ex-COAS General Bajwa said. I would tell him that both of us are [thinking about] the country; our purpose is one — to save the country,” Khan added.
The former prime minister added that he didn’t know how he was being lied to and betrayed.
“I knew during the last days and also received a report from the Intelligence Bureau (IB) about a game being played,” Khan said, adding that his informant from the IB would notify him verbally and not in writing.
Accusing the ex-army chief of betrayal, Khan said that whenever he asked Bajwa about the conspiracy, he replied that they want continuity.
The former prime minister said that he complained to Bajwa that "his allies are hinting that the army was forcing them to change their loyalty and you are saying that forces are neutral".