Home Latest News Imran Khan Invites Government for Dialogue on Election Date

Imran Khan Invites Government for Dialogue on Election Date

Federal ministers maintain polls will take place after constitutional term of Parliament ends

by Staff Report

File photo

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan on Friday invited the ruling coalition to negotiate a date for early elections, warning that his party will dissolve assemblies in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab if this does not happen.

This is a marked step back for the ousted prime minister, who had last week concluded his long march to Islamabad in Rawalpindi and announced that the PTI was “quitting” all assemblies as it did not wish to be part of a “corrupt” system. In his latest statement—delivered during an address to the PTI’s parliamentary party—he appeared willing to coexist with the “corrupt” system so long as it was willing to grant him early general elections. The offer also stands in stark contrast to Khan’s repeated claims that he would rather “sit with terrorists” than his rival politicians.

“Give us a date for elections or we will dissolve the KP and Punjab assemblies,” Khan said in his address, which was televised from his residence in Lahore’s Zaman Park, warning this meant around 66 percent of Pakistan would have to proceed to polls. “We have the full backing of PMLQ. Punjab C.M. Chaudhry Parvez Elahi will disband the provincial assembly on my call,” he said, in an apparent bid to end speculation over his coalition partner not wishing to dissolve the Punjab Assembly.

Claiming early elections were necessary for economic recovery, he reiterated allegations of Pakistan heading toward default—curiously the same day that PTI’s former finance minister Shaukat Tarin said this was no longer a threat. “Remittances have started falling, tax collection is shrinking, default risks are growing higher and higher, while Ishaq Dar is sitting silent in a corner,” said Khan.

“No elections, no political stability in the country,” he said, adding that the ruling coalition was against early elections because it feared before voted out of power. Accusing the government of not having any plans economic recovery—he said “their only plan is to somehow have me declared disqualified by filing cases against me and other party leaders.”

Government responds

Responding to Khan’s offer for dialogue, Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb plainly stated that elections would occur after the incumbent Parliament completed its constitutional term. She also urged Khan to wait till October 2023, which was backed by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, who told Geo News that the ruling coalition was willing to sit for talks with the PTI but these would not be bound by any conditions. All coalition partners believe it is not wise to proceed to early elections, he added.

Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah, meanwhile, the government would not refuse dialogue with the PTI as it believed in resolving political matters in a political manner. “When political parties and politicians sit down, deadlocks end and paths to resolve conflicts are found,” he said, adding that the government’s stance remained unchanged at wanting elections in October 2023.

Recalling that Khan had once said “he would prefer to die rather than sit with” leaders of the ruling coalition, he said the government would condemn any attempt by the PTI to dissolve the assemblies, but would fully participate in the subsequent elections.

Also on Friday, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif chaired a meeting of PMLN leaders. According to sources, the huddle decided against moving any no-confidence motion against the provincial governments of Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa for now. However, it said, the option would be left open in case it were ever needed.

Related Articles

Leave a Comment