In the wake of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan's insistence on early elections, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif Sunday slammed him for being power-hungry and undermining the country's foundations.
The coalition government and the PTI remain at odds with regard to general elections in the country. While the Centre aims at October 2023 as the election month, the Khan-led party insists on not waiting beyond March next year.
The ruling alliance in Islamabad, however, refuses to take pressure from Khan to conduct snap polls.
"Imran’s recent diatribe against parliamentary democracy is the latest in a series of attacks that fly in the face of how democracy functions in modern nation-states," PM Shehbaz wrote in a tweet.
As the PTI chief speaks against state institutions and hurls abuses against the ruling alliance leaders, PM Shehbaz believes that his politics' sole aim was coming back into power through any means necessary.
"His (Khan's) politics is aimed at making his way to power even if it means undermining foundations this country stands on," the prime minister expressed.
The PM's statement comes after the PTI chief shared his willingness to halt the dissolution of the Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa assemblies if the coalition government agrees to conduct elections by the end of March next year — another announcement to pressurise the coalition alliance.
In an interview with a private news channel, Khan said: “If they are ready for elections by the end of March, then we won't dissolve the assemblies. Otherwise, we want to conduct polls by dissolving the KP and Punjab assemblies."
He added that his party won’t agree on a date after March and assemblies will be dissolved this month [December] if the government disagrees.
“How long will they take to decide? They either have to say yes or no. We have already decided,” the former premier said underlining his conditional stance on talks with the government on the election date.
“If they [government] want, we can talk to them about what date the elections can be held. There is no way elections can take place after the budget,” he said, adding that the government will take the country down this way.
“Do they want polls to take place in 66% of the country and then conduct general elections?” Khan questioned, suggesting they announce the election date soon.
In his statement earlier in the day, PTI Senior Vice President Fawad Chaudhry said Khan has advised all party lawmakers to go back to their constituencies and prepare for elections.
The PTI's senior vice president said that they will not waste any more time and call for elections in KP and Punjab. The PDM would keep running from elections but they would not waste any more time, said Fawad.
The former information minister added that Khan has advised all PTI candidates to go back to their constituencies and start preparing for elections.
He said National Assembly elections would be held afterwards if the government does not call for general polls, but PTI would opt for polls in Punjab and KP as soon as possible.
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