LAHORE, Dec 21: Adding to the worries of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, police intelligence has reported that the general election due early next year is not being held on time and that the delay may span months or years and not weeks.
The report was presented to Nawaz Sharif by Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif when the former returned home from his three-day Dubai visit the other day. The report has been prepared by the Special Branch of the Punjab police, it is learnt.
The warning issued by Shahbaz on Friday about a civil war if elections are delayed gives credence to the news that such a report has been submitted to the party leadership.
PML-N media coordinator Tariq Azim admits that the meeting had discussed local political situation besides other issues, but denies that any such report was ever taken up.
The party is already apprehensive of the atmosphere being created by certain judgments of the superior judiciary. For instance, it fears that Supreme Court’s verdicts on Asghar Khan’s petition, Balochistan government and the Karachi law and order situation may go against the democratic set-up, says a party official.
Slogans like ‘save state, not politics’ by leaders like Tahirul Qadri are also a matter of concern for the PML-N, which apprehends that powers that be are behind all these shows and planning to deprive the party of its ‘term in power’.
“The forces, which do not want progress in the country, are trying to flee from elections, but they should know that a civil war can break out in the country if general elections are delayed and these forces will be responsible for any untoward situation,” Shahbaz warned while talking to the media during his visit to the under-construction Johar Town Sports Complex.
“The elections are vital to the existence and development of the country and any delay in the general election will be disastrous for the country and the nation,” he said.
In reply to a question, the chief minister said the elections would not be held under the supervision of the president, but the chief election commissioner and the Pakistan People’s Party would face a crushing defeat because the period of its rule was “the worst in country’s history”.
Replying to a question about the arrival of Dr Tahirul Qadri, he said “we have no concern with it”. He said he believed that the establishment had no plan to delay the elections and that it wanted the electoral process to be transparent. He said a decision on the caretaker set-up would be taken in consultation with the government and the opposition.
Describing the hiding of former Ogra chief Tauqir Sadiq as a blatant violation of the law, he said President Asif Ali Zardari had earlier helped a man linked to a case flee. “Elections are necessary when robbers and thieves are allowed to flee under the government supervision,” he added.
About the replacement of the Punjab governor, he said he had read the news and congratulated Makhdoom Ahmed Mahmood if he was being appointed to the post.