ISLAMABAD: While demanding snap elections, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan has not apparently consulted beforehand with his Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Chief Minister Pervez Khattak who would certainly oppose any such call as he wants to live his full five-year term in office.
Way back in 2014 during the PTI’s sit-in, the chief minister had aggressively declined to quit along with the party members of the provincial assembly for the simple reason that he did not wish to rock his own boat just one year after becoming the chief minister.
There was universal consensus that the PTI’s ambition of toppling the Nawaz Sharif government by leaving the legislatures would have got a tremendous flip had Khattak and his colleagues in the KP assembly had also joined their federal comrades.
Now when the chief minister has some ten months to consume his complete tenure, he is speeding up his development projects including the proposed Peshawar metro bus service and would not like to abandon them midway. Generally, in its last year in office every democratic government intensifies its agenda so that it delivers to attract voters’ support in the upcoming general elections.
One reason behind non-consultation of Imran Khan with Khattak might be the response of the latter he was expected to receive. He must be aware that the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) would never pay even a slight attention to this call.
However, the PTI chief has the right to make any kinds of demands. Opposition politicians conveniently issue such calls without bothering that the government would never accept them. For example, he has vociferously urged for umpteen times and has also protested on streets to squeeze the resignations of different top government leaders and position holders in key institutions including the Election Commission of Pakistan, but nobody ever took his demands seriously.
Imran Khan feels that Shahid Khaqan Abbasi is a weak prime minister, therefore, fresh elections would strengthen democracy. “Pakistan is moving towards democracy. For strengthening democracy, it is imperative to hold free and transparent elections.”
Leaving aside the obvious reaction of the PML-N to his fresh demand, not even an ally of the PTI – Jamaat-e-Islami – has backed it. Rather it has rejected the call. Other political forces including the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Awami National Party (ANP) have also articulated the same opinion. Like before, it is Imran Khan alone.
The PPP has consistently held the opinion that the government should complete its constitutionally mandated term and has always opposed its discontinuation halfway. Although it detests the present regime, it wants the administration to have its full tenure.
Under the Constitution, it is the prerogative of the incumbent prime minister to go for early elections. There is nothing on the horizon indicating that Premier Abbasi has any such proposal under consideration. Even if he takes such a decision, he will naturally follow the advice of deposed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif as well as the PML-N.
However, barring Imran Khan no federal or provincial legislator would ever like to opt for premature elections because none would wish to face a difficult test in which he might not get the same position he will be holding even a few more months.
It is well known that the PTI was confronted with desertions when it had preferred resignations in 2014. Topping all was the embarrassment that it had to swallow due to the straight refusal of Khattak and his MPs not to vacate their seats. Imran Khan was at a loss to give a cogent justification for this response of some of his lawmakers at the time. At the end of the day, they have to take back the resignations after several months.