PTI lawmakers preparing for provincial elections: Fawad

After Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan directed lawmakers to “start preparing for elections”, party leader Fawad Chaudhry revealed on Sunday that the party would first go for polls in Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P).

Former prime minister Imran Khan had earlier asked his provincial legislators in K-P to start preparing for elections, saying, “we would dissolve the assemblies in K-P and Punjab this month.”

Read ‘$43.4b loans’ taken during PTI regime

While addressing K-P lawmakers through a video link from his Zaman Park residence in Lahore on Saturday, the ousted premier lamented that the coalition government rejected his offer for talks.

“My offer was in good faith for the sake of our nation,” he said while referring to his earlier invitation to the government to hold talks for the next elections.

“We had conveyed to the government that if it was willing to hold talks on the date of the election then we would sit with them otherwise we will dissolve the assemblies very soon and head towards elections,” he warned.

Imran, however, did not give a date for the assemblies’ dissolution and only directed the lawmakers to go back to their constituencies and prepare for the elections.

“I had been empowered by the parliamentary parties to decide when to dissolve assemblies while both the chief ministers of K-P and Punjab extended their full support in this connection.”

In a tweet earlier today, PTI senior leader Fawad Chaudhry said on Imran's advice party lawmakers are "preparing for elections".

He added: “If PDM [Pakistan Democratic Movement] continues to run away from the elections the way it has been, then we will go for provincial elections in Punjab and K-P without wasting any more time and the National Assembly elections shall take place later”.

عمران خان نے ممبران اسمبلی کو ہدائیت کی ہے کہ حلقوں میں واپس پہنچیں اور انتخابات کی تیاری کریں، اگر PDM انتخابات سے ایسے ہی بھاگتی رہی جیسی اب بھاگ رہی ہے تو ہم مزید وقت ضائع کئے بغیر پنجاب اور پختونخواہ کےصوبائ انٹخابات کیلئے جائینگے اور قومی اسمبلی کے انتخابات بعد میں ہوں گے
— Ch Fawad Hussain (@fawadchaudhry) December 4, 2022

Both Punjab and the K-P government have expressed full support to Imran Khan in his decision to dissolve the provincial assemblies as well.

K-P government spokesperson Barrister Muhammad Ali Saif said that the federal government was “caught in cyclone” adding that it had been “left with no other option apart from calling for fresh elections”.

بھان متی کا کنبہ گہرے بھنور میں پھنس چکا اور ان کے پاس نئے انتخابات کے علاوہ کوئی آپشن نہیں بچا۔ خیبرپختونخوا کے ایم پی ایز وزیراعلیٰ محمود خان کی قیادت میں متحد ہیں۔ عمران خان کے حکم پر خیبر پختونخوا اسمبلی تحلیل کر دی جائے گی۔#امپورٹڈ_حکومت_نامنظور#عمران_خان_ہماری_ریڈ_لائن
— Barrister Dr Muhammad Ali Saif (@BaristerDrSaif) December 4, 2022

“K-P Members of Assembly stand united with Chief Minister Mahmood Khan,” he said, “the assembly will be dissolved on Imran Khan’s orders”.

Read More ‘$43.4b loans’ taken during PTI regime

Similarly, Punjab Chief Minister Chaudhry Pervez Elahi had once again reiterated his allegiance to Imran and vowed to dissolve Punjab Assembly – a hard-earned crown he received after months of toil – on Imran Khan’s call.

The Punjab CM had made these remarks during a meeting with Punjab Assembly Speaker Sibtan Khan. The meeting was also attended by PML-Q leader Moonis Elahi.

During the meeting, matters pertaining to political situations and Punjab Assembly rules and regulations came under discussion. The participants of the meeting also discussed technical aspects of the constitutional situation ahead of Imran Khan’s call.

However yesterday, Interior Minister Sanaullah had also spoken during a press briefing, saying politicians never refused to negotiate.

“He [Imran] is the only politician who was imposed on the country who did not shake hands with the opposition for the entirety of [around] four years,” the minister had added.

Sanaullah had maintained that the deposed PM tried to force an election date by threatening the establishment but failed.

“He [Imran] kept asking for an election date from the third force but did not get it because they have become apolitical,” the minister had said.

Also Read No NA elections even if provincial assemblies dissolved, says ECP

Meanwhile, a curious hush has descended on the political quarters in Punjab in the wake of Imran's rare offer to huddle around a table to negotiate the date for snap polls. The opposition in the province — the PML-N and PPP — which was sent into a panic after PTI’s announcement to scuttle assemblies, has appeared reassured and decided to play cards close to their chests.

People in the know about the developments had said the opposition in Punjab has also temporarily deferred their idea of moving a no-confidence resolution against the Punjab CM Pervez Elahi.

The ruling coalition in the Centre and the opposition in provinces have quietly agreed upon a ‘wait-and-see’ approach and refrain from reacting to the developments until Imran’s final decision, sources had said.

They had added that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif will seek the counselling of coalition partners to hammer out a strategy to deal with the situation.

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