Wednesday, December 07, 2022
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Vice Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi said party's chairman Imran Khan has decided to dissolve the Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) assemblies within the next few days.
"Today, the party and the party's leadership have given authority to Imran Khan [for the assemblies' dissolution]. Imran Khan now intends to dissolve the assemblies soon so that the process can be taken forward," he said Wednesday while addressing a press conference along with the party's top brass.
Qureshi said as a result of Khan's back-to-back consultative meetings with the party's lawmakers and local leadership, he is "convinced" that the way forward is the dissolution of both assemblies and snap polls.
The PTI has been pressurising the coalition government in the Centre to hold early elections in light of the "deteriorating economy", but the former has not heeded the demand.
Khan had last week said that he would delay the dissolution of the assemblies if the government decides to hold general elections in March, but the government rejected the offer saying that polls will be held on time — October 2023.
But even though the PTI has been persistent in its demand for early polls, its ally Chief Minister Punjab Pervez Elahi believes that he did not see elections taking place in the next four months.
In today's presser, Qureshi said: "We believe that even if the PDM's (Pakistan Democratic Movement) federal government is keeping its own interests above the state's and not thinking about holding general elections, then new governments should be formed in both provinces before Ramadan."
The former foreign minister said PTI does not want anarchy in the state and wishes to "end the differences" that have taken place in the last eight months, hinting at the party's worsening relations with the establishment.
Qureshi said that the PTI leadership, including Khan, believe that the incumbent government has lost the trust of the business community as well as the agriculturists.
"The growth figures are dropping — whether it be industrial production, private sector investment, or any other indicator — which shows that the economy is deteriorating."
Cash-strapped Pakistan is currently waiting for funds from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as cataclysmic floods, depleting foreign exchange reserves and depreciating currency adversely affected the economic situation in Pakistan.
In the meeting today, the party also appreciated the Supreme Court's decision to take suo motu notice of senior journalist Arshad Sharif's murder, PTI's vice chairman said.
Qureshi said a fact-finding report has also been presented before the five-member SC bench. "We believe that justice should be done in this case and the human rights violations that have been taking place were unprecedented."
PTI Senior Vice President Fawad Chaudhry said the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja wanted to disqualify Khan.
"But the people will not accept the decisions taken behind closed doors. [The government] should accept the people's decision and move forward. There can be no stability without new elections."
Taking over the presser, PTI Secretary-General Asad Umar said inflation has skyrocketed in the last eight months — since the PTI government's ouster in April.
He said that all financial experts believe that the "economy has been devastated" and the government has no plan on how to revive it.
The PTI leader added that when the Khan-led government was ousted, the foreign exchange reserves stood at $16 billion — which are now below $8 billion.
"There are fears that the foreign exchange reserves might fall to $5 billion by December's end," he warned, as current reserves held by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) can only cover imports for 1.11 months.