LAHORE: Political maneuvering seems to have reached an all-time high, as the PTI has decided to dissolve the KP and Punjab assemblies in a desperate attempt to force the ruling coalition to announce snap polls while the latter is mulling over many options to save the assemblies from dissolution, including imposition of governor’s rule.
Talking to reporters here on Monday, PTI Senior Vice President and former information minister Fawad Chaudhry said the party leadership had approved the dissolution of the Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa assemblies, while its members in the Sindh and Balochistan Assemblies will submit their resignations.
Fawad said they were quitting the assemblies, as the party’s senior leadership had approved the dissolution of assemblies in KP and Punjab. He said the PTI would announce the date for dissolution of both the Houses in the next two to three days.
After calling off the long march to Islamabad last week, PTI Chairman Imran Khan announced that his party and allies would quit the assemblies, as they wanted to opt out of the “corrupt system”.
Punjab Chief Minister Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi — a strong ally of the PTI — also backed the decision and said he would not wait for a minute to dissolve the assembly if Imran ordered him to thus putting further pressure on the coalition government in the Centre to move toward early general elections.
Fawad said Imran had spoken to the KP Chief Minister Mahmood Khan and he would also hold a meeting with Pervaiz Elahi later this week. “The meetings of the parliamentary parties of both the assemblies have been summoned for later this week, following which, the assemblies would be dissolved,” he said.
Fawad said the PTI had kick-started the process for allotting tickets to politicians, and as the party’s lawmakers resigned from their respective assemblies, 563 seats across the country will be vacated and elections will be held on them.
He said the opposition will also be invited to hold consultations with the government in both provinces on formation of the interim government. He said even if elections were held after seven to eight months, it won’t affect the PTI due to its popularity, but the party wished for political stability which could only be achieved through early elections.
“Therefore, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif should announce the date for general elections and dissolve the National Assembly. But if you don’t, then PTI will dissolve the assemblies wherever it rules.”
Meanwhile, sticking to their guns of not holding the general elections before August next year, the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz and its allies have decided that the Punjab Assembly will complete its constitutional term and to ensure this, they will take every step, including the imposition of Governor Raj.
This was decided in the PMLN parliamentary party meeting chaired by the PMLN Central Vice President Hamza Shehbaz here on Monday. The meeting was attended by Atta Tarar, Azma Bukhari, Khawaja Salman Rafiq, Ramzan Siddique Bhatti, Samiullah Khan, Col (retired) Ayub Gadi, Khawaja Imran Nazir, Saba Sadiq, and other PMLN leaders.
The meeting discussed in detail all available options, and it was also decided to take the PDM parties and allies into confidence. Another round of meeting between the PMLN and PPP leaders will take place on Tuesday (today).
During the meeting, all options, including moving a no-confidence motion against the Punjab chief minister or asking him to take a vote of confidence, were discussed. Talking to the media after the meeting, PMLN leaders Attaullah Tarar and Azma Bukhari told reporters that in the meeting of PMLN Parliamentary Consultative Group, it was decided that the PMLN would go to any extent to ensure that the assembly was not dissolved.
Tarar said a resolution was also passed in the meeting to complete the Punjab Assembly term. He said a meeting of Hamza Shehbaz’s delegation with the PPP had been arranged, and the final course of action to save the Punjab Assembly will be decided in that meeting.
“I want to raise a question that the review petition case was filed in July, but nothing has been done about the case,” Tarar said, adding that a decision should be given after the counting of 25 votes.
He demanded that the Supreme Court immediately decide the pending case. Whatever the outcome, the court should resolve the speaker’s case, and a decision should be made on the status of the right to vote during a confidence or no-confidence motion, as well as the fate of those members who were suspended for voting against Ch Pervaiz Elahi, he added.
Tarar made it clear that all political and legal options should be used, and assemblies should not be broken. “People of PTI who have a democratic mind also want the assemblies to work, and they are in our touch,” Attaullah Tarar claimed.
In response to a question, he said at present there was no consultation or backdoor contact with the PTI. Answering another question, he said imposing the Governor’s Rule was an option, and consultations were held on it.
Tarar said former president Asif Ali Zardari had selected Hasan Murtaza for talks. Azma Bukhari said the Punjab Assembly was not the personal estate of Pervaiz Elahi and Imran Khan. She said since Imran Khan had failed in all his objectives, the assembly was brought to a standstill.
“First came dictators, and now Imran Khan wants to dissolve the assemblies. One party cannot decide the public mandate,” Azma said, asking the court to link the outcome of Hamza Shehbaz’s pending case to the dissolution of the Punjab Assembly.
She said they were not being heard, and during the last 75 years, it never happened that any member entered the assembly hall with whistles and lotas. Pervaiz Elahi, she claimed, had turned the Punjab Assembly into a Gujarat assembly, and she wondered if it would be run by the goons.
Azma said 15 days had passed but the suspended members were not restored. She demanded immediate restoration of the suspended members. Meanwhile, Punjab Chief Minister Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, in a tweet on Monday, stated neither can Governor Rule be imposed while assembly is in session nor can voting over no-confidence take place. Pervaiz Elahi in the tweet reiterated commitment with Imran Khan and said assembly would be dissolved whenever Imran asked for it.
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