Awami Muslim League (AML) chief Sheikh Rashid said that President Arif Alvi's unilateral announcement of a date for elections was constitutional and legal. He added that by doing so he [the president] had fulfilled what was required of him.
The AML chief was referring to President Alvi's order which he gave to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on February 20 for holding elections on April 9 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab where the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) dissolved its governments last month at the behest of party chief Imran Khan. The president's unilateral announcement of an election date kicked up a debate in the country regarding his jurisdiction to do so.
"The party that runs away from elections is not a political party. Instead, it is a mafia," the former interior minister told the media outside a local court in the F8 area of Islamabad on Tuesday. He said the President has made the correct decision for unilaterally announcing the date of elections.
Interestingly, the former interior minister, talking to the media in Lahore on February 19, had called on President Dr Arif Alvi to either announce the election date or step down from his position. Sheikh Rashid had said President Alvi held the highest constitutional post, and had complete authority to announce the date of the elections.
Responding to a query regarding the President's Feb 20 announcement, he said that he did not know if the elections were going to be held or not, but the incumbent government would remain beset with this problem. However, he maintained that the country would witness civil war and drought if elections were not held.
"By chance, President Alvi chose a date i.e. April 9 when the Imran Khan-led government was ambushed," he emphasised.
Sheikh Rashid said that the Abpara police were notorious for their drug peddling. "The Islamabad police raided my house located in the remit of Punjab. They also stole valuables from my residence, including my watches, vehicles, licensed firearms and money," he said, calling upon Chief of Army Staff General Asim Munir to take notice and have the issue personally investigated.
"I have provided the password of my phone to the police. Hopefully, my watches and licensed firearms will be returned to me as I will go to Murree on February 23," he added.
The former minister also called upon Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Vice-President Maryam Nawaz to tell the nation who brought this government in the dark of night as she had said, "It was not our government."
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