Sunday Feb 19, 2023
As the date of holding polls is well in demand, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah has asserted that the general elections should be held across the country at the same time.
Addressing the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) workers' convention in Rawalpindi on Sunday, the security czar said his "party is fully prepared" for the elections. He added that they were not afraid of the elections.
Sanaullah's remarks came hours after the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) excused itself from holding consultations with President Arif Alvi on elections in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa for the time being, saying that the matter is already under judicial consideration.
It is pertinent to mention here that the president on Friday summoned the election commissioner for an "urgent meeting" on Monday (tomorrow) to hold a consultation on the date of the poll, lambasting him over ECP’s “poignant approach” regarding the general elections date.
A day earlier, the interior minister also censured the president, asking him to respect his constitutional stature as he had nothing to do with the date for elections.
Firing a fresh salvo at Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan over his “Jail Bharo Tehreek” (court arrest movement), Sanaullah said that the government’s response would be “far beyond his imagination.
According to the interior minister, Khan’s agenda is to push the country towards chaos and anarchy.
“Khan launched the court arrest campaign but on the other hand he hid in a bunker,” the interior minister took a jibe at the PTI leader who has been residing at his Zaman Park house in Lahore.
He also said, “Political workers would not be kept in jails. Only those people would be imprisoned who wanted to create anarchy and disorder in the country."
The deposed prime minister, who was removed from power via a no-confidence vote in April last year, wanted to destabilise the country, the federal minister added.
He vowed that Khan would not be given any other opportunity to spread further chaos and anarchy in the country.
Referring to the “Jail Bharo Tehreek” the interior minister said that only “Imrani Gang” would be sent to jail who was harming the country.
Turning his guns yet again towards President Arif Alvi, Sanaullah said that he refused to approve the "mini-budget" ordinance so that the government could not reach a deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Following the president's advice, the coalition government on February 15 introduced the Finance (Supplementary) Bill 2023 or the "mini-budget" in the National Assembly and Senate as the government sought to fulfil the prerequisites for unlocking the $1.1 billion IMF loan tranche.
Through the "mini-budget", the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM)-led government aims to generate Rs55 billion out of the Rs170 billion — in order to meet the conditions laid forth by the Washington-based lender.
Speaking on the occasion PML-N leader and former senior vice-president Shahid Khaqan Abbasi urged for unity ahead of the elections for the National and provincial assemblies.
“Elections for the national and provincial assemblies are nearing. We should be united ahead of it and mobilise workers and voters,” the former prime minister said while addressing the party’s organisational convention.
Khaqan added that the party must decide to ensure hard work and provide the “right candidate” in constituencies.
The PML-N stalwart hoped for his party’s win in Rawalpindi "if elections are held independently".
“Whether national or provincial polls are held, PML-N will win. Except for rigging, the party has never lost in Rawalpindi,” he added.
He also vowed to take disheartened members of the party together.