'There is no other option but to hold elections on April 30 in Punjab,” Fawad Chaudhry says
Hours after the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) decided topostpone the date for general elections in Punjab from April 30 to October 8, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) announced its decision to challenge the move in the Supreme Court.
Citing security reasons as the major cause behind the change of plan, theelection organising authority announced the postponement of the upcoming elections in the largest province of the country.
Last month,President Arif Alvi announced the date for the Punjab polls after consulting the ECP in light of the Supreme Court's split ruling.
Addressing a joint press conference, PTI Senior Vice President Fawad Chaudhry, flanked by Secretary General Asad Umar, announced that they are moving the top court against the ECP for “breaching the Constitution”.
“There is no other option but to hold elections on April 30,” insisted the PTI stalwart. He added that the former ruling party’s petition would seek the court’s order for holding elections in the province as per the previous schedule.
Turning his guns towards Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif-led coalition government, Fawad said that the joint sitting of parliament convened on Wednesday was aimed at an “attack on the Supreme Court”.
It is pertinent to mention here that the joint session was held yesterday instead of the 10th of next month to "take important decisions" to enforce the state's authority.
The session was convened in the midst of prolonged anti-government defiance by PTI Chairman Imran Khan. National Assembly Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, while exercising his powers under Joint Sitting Rules 1973, had made a change in the schedule of the joint session of parliament.
“Judges are being blackmailed and pressurised,” Fawad claimed.
Expressing his solidarity with the apex court and its judges, the PTI senior leader said that millions of people stand with the CJP and other judges of the apex court.
“It is your duty to save the Constitution,” Fawad appealed to the judges of the top court.
Expressing his surprise, the former information minister said they were not part of the agenda of yesterday’s sitting, adding that the “main target” of the parliament’s session was the Supreme Court.
Fawad further said that they are ready for talks on the elections.
For the first time in the county’s history, a civilian government tried to subvert the Constitution, he said, adding that the nation demands that Article 6 should be applied to five members of the electoral watchdog.
On his part, Umar termed the ECP’s decision to postpone elections in Punjab against the orders of the apex court.
The PTI secretary general demanded that elections in the province should be held on April 30.
In their orders, the high courts of Islamabad, Peshawar and Lahore had clarified that the ECP could not change the election date, the PTI leader said.
He further said that they will not allow any deviation from the Constitution. He also hoped that the top court will also hear their plea against KP Governor Haji Ghulam Ali.