Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan on Thursday accused his political rivals of trying to blackmail the judiciary in a bid to delay elections in Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa beyond the constitutional limit of 90 days.
“The N-league [Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz)] is threatening the judiciary,” he alleged in a televised video address from his Zaman Park residence in Lahore. “The judiciary is being blackmailed. The reason behind this is to stop the elections from taking place within 90 days,” he claimed, adding that elections cannot be postponed beyond their constitutional limit.
Reiterating that Article 224 of the Constitution does not permit any caretaker government from staying in power beyond 90 days, he said their sole responsibility was to conduct free and fair elections. If the elections are not held on time, he warned, it could lead to “destruction” because the public was ready for mass agitation. Elections, he maintained, were the only means of ending the current political instability.
Taking aim at the ruling coalition, he claimed the country would continue to suffer so long it remained in power. He also reiterated allegations of the establishment colluding with his opposition to oust him from the Prime Minister’s Office, adding that his party leadership was being pressured to abandon him. In this regard, he lauded former Punjab chief minister Parvez Elahi and his son Moonis for remaining loyal to the PTI. “We honored Elahi [with announcement of PTI’s presidency] as he merged his party with PTI despite the pressure,” he said, though the party was not merged; Elahi and a group of the PMLQ defected to the PTI.
Khan also alleged that efforts were underway to get him disqualified from holding public office. “Those who consider themselves above law assert pressure on the judiciary,” he claimed.
Referring to ongoing inflation and the current economic crisis, the PTI chief warned that the people of Sri Lanka had set fire to the Prime Minister’s House when they were going through a similar situation.