Sunday, May 07, 2023
Amid the ruling Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) reluctance to go into snap polls, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah has said that the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) has kicked off its election campaign.
“We will win the elections. Free and transparent elections will be held this year and the National Assembly will complete its constitutional term,” the minister said while speaking to the media in Faisalabad on Sunday.
His statement comes as the ruling PDM has refused to accept the Supreme Court’s verdict on conducting elections to the Punjab Assembly on May 14 and is holding talks with the main opposition party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), to evolve consensus on the simultaneous polls in the country.
Despite agreeing to hold elections on the same date under the caretaker setup, the government and PTI negotiating teams have so far failed to reach a consensus on the election timing and submitted separate reports to the apex court.
Referring to the ongoing negotiations, the interior minister said the federal government is not ready to hold general elections in the country “even one day before” the stipulated time on the demand of PTI.
“People should minus him [from politics] using their power of the vote. We will treat him first then go into the polls. If he [Imran Khan] takes to the streets,” he warned.
Sanaullah also reiterated that PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif, who has been living in London since November 2019 in self-imposed exile on medical grounds, will return to the country before the general elections.
He also brushed off the PTI chairman’s warning that he would stage protests across the country if elections to the Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa assemblies are not held within 90 days of their dissolution.
“He threatened us last year in May too... but on May 25 he [Imran Khan] did not find a way to escape,” he said in reference to the PTI’s last year's long march on Islamabad that was ended abruptly.
Meanwhile, the PML-N decided against going into an electoral alliance to contest the next general elections independently with polls to be strictly held according to the Constitution once the National Assembly completes its mandated period, The News has learnt.
The party will begin its countrywide election campaign from May 28. The day also marks Youm-e-Takbeer when Pakistan's government — led by PML-N supremo and former prime minister Nawaz Sharif — conducted nuclear tests at Chagai in 1998.
The development came after a meeting between Nawaz and his younger brother, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, in London, where the latter was on a visit to attend the Coronation ceremony of King Charles III.