Lahore/Islamabad, April 5
Pakistan’s former prime minister Imran Khan on Wednesday said that he was ready to wait till October if the ruling Pakistan Democratic Movement-led coalition government shares a roadmap with him for holding fair general elections.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Khan has been demanding early national elections since his ouster in April last year after he lost a confidence vote in Parliament.
Pakistan’s election commission is preparing to hold general elections by October.
Khan, former cricketer-turned-politician, said that he was ready to wait till October for elections, however, his decision depends on the willingness of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM)-led coalition government, The News reported.
The PDM mostly comprises political parties in the ruling coalition, including the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).
Khan, 70, said that if the coalition government shares a roadmap with him ensuring that everything will be in order then he can wait till October for the elections.
Addressing his party workers and supporters via video link, the PTI chief lauded the Supreme Court’s verdict of setting aside the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) ruling and ordering the Punjab Assembly polls on May 14.
Khan claimed that the PML-N led federal government has made a plan to defy the apex court’s order to hold elections in Punjab province on May 14, urging his party supporters to get ready to take to streets to protect the Constitution.
On the other hand, the ruling coalition announced that it is ready to face contempt of court or disqualifications but will not implement the SC’s decision.
A three-member bench of the Supreme Court led by Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial on Tuesday fixed May 14 as the new date for elections to the Punjab Assembly, as the apex court quashed the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) decision to extend the polls date from April 10 to Oct 8.
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and his cabinet have openly rejected the SC’s decision and declared they would not abide by it come what may.
PMLN supreme leader Nawaz Sharif, who has been living in self-exile in London since 2019 has asked his government in Pakistan to move a reference against CJP Bandial and other two members of the bench.
Nawaz’s daughter Maryam Nawaz on Wednesday also declared that the government would not implement the apex court decision. “We don’t care about contempt of court or disqualification for not implementing this controversial decision of the three-member bench of SC. We faced disqualifications in the past for speaking the truth and we will do it again,” she declared.
On the other hand, Imran Khan has announced to hit the streets in favour of the Supreme Court to protect its decision. “We must be prepared to come out on the streets for peaceful protest in support & protection of SC, which upholds the Constitution,” Khan said in a series of tweets on Wednesday.
He further said: “Tonight after Isha (evening) prayers we will be celebrating Youm-e-Tashakur (Thanksgiving day) in over 75 cities across all 4 provinces. SC has stood with the Constitution & put an end to Doctrine of Necessity, which is used in absence of Rule of Law. This is also a huge step forward towards Haqeeqi Azadi (real freedom).” He said the Supreme Court does not have an army to implement its decisions...these are protected by the nation.
Khan said: “The incumbent government is using all tactics to escape from elections, which is a part of the London plan,” apparently referring to the former prime minister and the PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif.
Since an assassination attempt on him in November last year, Khan has been talking about a “London Plan”—according to him—which includes conspiracy regarding his murder and where commitments were made to bring “absconder” Nawaz Sharif to power as quid pro quo for agreeing to one appointment.
The last general election was held in July 2018 and the term of Pakistan’s current National Assembly is till October 2023.
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