Monday December 11, 2023

Ahead of final round talks, Imran Khan reiterates call for dissolution of assemblies before May 14

PTI chief warns PDM govt against using talks as delaying tactic

By Web Desk
May 01, 2023
Former prime minister Imran Khan during an interview with AFP in this undated image. — AFP/File
Former prime minister Imran Khan during an interview with AFP in this undated image. — AFP/File

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan has said that his party will only agree to hold polls across the country on the same date if the ruling Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) dissolves all assemblies before May 14 — the date fixed by Supreme Court for elections to the Punjab Assembly.

Khan's comments came on Monday as the PTI and the ruling alliance are set to hold a "final round" of talks tomorrow (Tuesday) over the election date on the instructions of the apex court, but top leaders from both sides have cast aspersions over the fruitfulness of the negotiations.

The apex court has asked both sides to sit down and evolve a consensus for holding elections across the country simultaneously after the government refused to follow the top court’s orders on releasing funds for the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

The government — as two sessions were held last week between the PTI and the PDM delegations — said that the polls cannot be held right after the budget, which is presented in June, and proposed that they take place later. But the PTI was insistent on early elections.

"They [government] want to hold elections when they believe I will be out of their way. Their only aim is to take me out of the way," Khan — who was ousted as the prime minister in April last year — said during an address to a rally in Lahore today.

The PTI chief said the government is making "excuses" that it has to present the budget and that "they think that they can trap us in their ill-intentioned-plan".

Khan added that if the government thinks that it can stall and the PTI will wait, then they are wrong. "We will move the court and demand elections in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP)."

The PTI chief said his party would put forth only one proposal in the meeting tomorrow: dissolve all assemblies — Sindh, Balochistan, and national — and head for polls before May 14.

Since Khan's ouster, he has been on the streets protesting against the government for what he calls "injustice" as he blames the PDM for hatching a "conspiracy" to remove him from office.

In an unusual move, Khan had Punjab and KP assemblies dissolved in January this year to force the government into holding elections across the country, but the PDM did not cave in, which led to further political turmoil, resulting in damage to the already fragile economy.