Thursday, December 22, 2022
Web Desk

Everything will get out of hand if snap polls not held, warns Imran Khan amid power politics in Punjab

PTI chief says only elections can save country from heading towards further economic, political instability

Web Desk

PTI Chairman Imran Khan addresses party workers and supporters via video link on December 22, 2022. — Screengrab/YouTube/PTI
PTI Chairman Imran Khan addresses party workers and supporters via video link on December 22, 2022. — Screengrab/YouTube/PTI

  • PTI chief also urges judiciary, establishment to expedite elections.
  • Imran Khan blames "one man" for toppling his government.
  • "One ‘man’ decided to end party," says deposed PM.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan on Thursday reiterated his call for holding early elections, urging the "establishment" and "judiciary" to play their role to avoid further economic destruction and political instability in the country.

“We are afraid that everything will get out of hand if [general] elections are not held soon,” he said while addressing his workers and supporters via video link from his Zaman Park residence in Lahore.

Imran Khan, who was removed from power through a vote of no-confidence in the National Assembly in April this year, also reminded his supporters about the PTI’s winning by-election despite alleged rigging. He added that his assassination was decided as a result of his party’s victorious stride.

The PTI chief said that even though his party has governments in two provinces and rules over 66% of the country, it has decided the dissolution of the Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa assemblies.

Last week, the former premier announced that the dissolution of assemblies in both provinces would be done on Friday (tomorrow).

“This is everyone’s battle, but not of those whose money is lying abroad,” Khan said, pointing at the Pakistan Democratic Movement-led government in the Centre. He added that the nation rejected the “gang of thieves”.

“I want to remind the nation that his toppled PTI government took the country towards economic progress,” the deposed prime minister said.

He went on to say that one man’s decision toppled his government, deeming it “cruelty”.

“One man has enmity [towards PTI]. He decided to end the party. He decided to end Imran Khan,” Khan said without naming the person he was referring to.

The PTI government gave the highest growth rate in Pakistan’s history when the economy was progressing, he added. “The country’s wealth increased by 5.7% and 6% in the third and fourth year. The country had never progressed to this extent.”

Khan said that he had never seen the nation go into a dark time in his 70 years of life. “Our country is getting stuck in quicksand.”

He said that he is addressing those Pakistanis who have not laundered their money abroad rather than those who have looted the country.

The PTI supporters were staging a “huge protest” outside the Governor House in Lahore. Ahead of Imran Khan’s address, party workers also chanted slogans against the governor, and also brought a 100-metre-long PTI flag to show their support for the party chairman.

Prior to Imran Khan’s address, PTI's Focal Person for Economy Hammad Azhar took a jibe at Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah saying that while he was trying to seal the Punjab CM House, PTI supporters sealed the governor's house and has taken the governor hostage by “staging a huge protest”.

Warning the governor to beware of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Azhar said: “The people on whose dictation you are violating the Constitution will not even release a statement in your favour when needed.”

On Wednesday, Punjab Governor Baligh-ur-Rehman declared Punjab Assembly Speaker Sibtain Khan's ruling unconstitutional and illegal. The latter had defied his directives of summoning a session on Wednesday at 4pm for a vote of confidence pertaining to Chief Minister Parvez Elahi.

Sibtain Khan, instead, termed the order against the Constitution and adjourned an ongoing session till Friday.

PML-Q MPs back CM Elahi

In light of a trust or no-trust vote, the votes of the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid-e-Azam (PML-Q) are extremely important and the opposition was eyeing getting their support through PML-Q chief Chaudhry Shujaat.

However, a statement released from the PML-Q said that the lawmakers of the party have assured their complete support for the incumbent chief minister — Elahi.

In a meeting — presided over by the CM and PML-Q’s parliamentary leader Sajid Bhatti — members gave CM Punjab full authority for all decisions and resolved to remain united under his leadership, the party statement read.

If a no-confidence motion is moved in the provincial assembly, members agreed to vote in favour of the chief minister, speaker and deputy speaker.

In this regard, addressing the press conference alongside Azhar, PTI Senior Vice President Fawad Chaudhry also mentioned that all PML-Q MPs have backed CM Elahi, the speaker, and the deputy speaker.

"We have the numbers," Chaudhry said, noting that the PTI and PML-Q have joint members amounting to 187.

Letter sent for removing governor

Meanwhile, PA Speaker Sibtain has sent a letter to President Arif Alvi for removing the incumbent governor, Punjab Minister for Environment Protection and Parliamentary Affairs Muhammad Basharat Raja said.

The former law minister mentioned that under Article 101(3), the president has the authority to remove the governor.

Basharat said in the letter written for the removal, the speaker has also complained about the governor's behaviour.

"He has also pointed out the unconstitutional measures of the governor and requested the president to ensure that the governor does not take further unconstitutional steps."