Imran says not worried about a delay in elections

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan on Sunday said it would not make any difference to his party if the elections were delayed for any reason after the dissolution of the two provincial assemblies.

Talking to a select group of senior journalists at his Zaman Park residence, Imran reiterated that his party would stick to its original plan of dissolving the Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) assemblies.

The former prime minister reiterated his earlier statement that Punjab Chief Minister Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi would take the vote of confidence from the provincial assembly before January 11.

When asked if the elections were delayed for any reason after the dissolution of the Punjab and K-P assemblies, where the PTI was in power, Imran said the delay would not make any difference.

“When the two provincial assemblies are dissolved, the government will have to call general elections,” Imran said. “However, any delay in the general elections after the dissolution of both the assemblies would not affect the PTI,” he added.

Imran had announced the dissolution of assemblies on November 26 in Rawalpindi, at the culmination of his long march. On December 17, he set December 23 as the date for the dissolution.

Two days later on December 21, Punjab Governor Balighur Rehman ordered Chief Minister Elahi to seek a vote of confidence from the provincial assembly. However, the speaker did not call the session on that day.

Consequently, Governor Rehman de-notfied the chief minister and Elahi challenged the order in the Lahore High Court (LHC). The court reinstated him as the chief minister on assurances that he would not dissolve the assembly until January 11 – the next date of hearing.

Talking to journalists, Imran expressed his confidence that the chief minister would win the vote of confidence before the January 11 hearing, and later he would dissolve the assembly as per the PTI’s plan.

“We did not announce the dissolution of the provincial assemblies immediately after the fall of our government in Islamabad. We intentionally delayed the move to involve our collation partners in the decision-making process,” he said.

“A good player never attempts to hit every ball but chooses the opportunity sensibly,” the former prime minister said, invoking cricket jargon. He again said that he was seeing general elections in the country in March or April.

Though Elahi had submitted an affidavit in the LHC that he would not dissolve the provincial assembly, both the PTI and the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) were committed to dissolving the assembly, sooner or later.

Currently, both the parties are deliberating on the date of dissolution of the assembly as well as the terms to continue their alliance in the upcoming general elections.

So far, three rounds of talks had already been held between the senior leaderships of the PTI and the PML-Q to negotiate a seat-adjustment formula for the general elections.

Imran had already said that his party’s alliance with the PML-Q would continue in the future as the PML-Q had supported his party in the trying times despite different pressures.

Also on Sunday, Imran Khan presided over a meeting of senior party leaders to chalk out a strategy for Elahi’s vote of confidence. He was also briefed about the negotiations for seat adjustment with the PML-Q.

Meanwhile, Imran said in a tweet that the absence of justice through rule of law in the country was the reason the nation could not realise Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah's vision for Pakistan.

Writing on his Twitter handle on the 146th birthday anniversary of the founder of the nation, he stressed that the rule of law ensured equality. “This leads to Haqeeqi Azadi, true freedom, and protection of citizens' rights,” he added.

“This in turn protects them [people] from elite capture of the state and government. Unfortunately, in Pakistan because the rule of law was never allowed to be established, elite capture of the country has allowed powerful institutions and mafias to remain above the law as if it was their right,” Imran lamented.

He also wished Christian citizens a happy Christmas.

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