Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb on Tuesday castigated PTI chief Imran Khan for demanding the resignation of Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikander Sultan Raja, urging the country's institutions to take action against the former premier.
After the PTI's landslide victory in the recent Punjab by-elections, Imran had criticised the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for allegedly being biased. He had also claimed that the CEC was favouring the PML-N in electoral battles.
Imran also said that his party won the by-polls despite the use of state machinery as he insisted that early elections were still the only solution to the country’s economic problems.
At today's press conference, Aurangzeb took exception to Imran's demand and said: "This man wants civil war. He has attacked every institution in the country, tried to sabotage Pakistan's foreign policy and ruined the economy.
"Even on April 3, when the honourable court opened its doors because of his rampage against the Constitution, he attacked the judges and accused them of taking decisions behind closed doors."
On April 3, the former National Assembly deputy speaker had scuttled the no-confidence motion against Imran, following which the president had dissolved the lower house of parliament. This had prompted the apex court to take suo motu notice and eventually restoring the NA which subsequently passed the no-confidence motion and ousted Imran from office.
Imran, Marriyum said, had gotten into the habit of being appeased.
"He wants to destroy anyone who goes against him," the minister said, insisting that Imran had tried to do the same with the ECP and the CEC.
The minister stated that the PTI chief wanted all 20 seats in Punjab and had threatened to "set the ECP on fire" if that didn't happen.
In reality, he is scared of the verdict in the prohibited funding case against PTI, she asserted.
She continued that Imran, "being an anarchic ruler with a Machiavellian attitude", was used to people submitting before him.
"The youth will have to understand this. Today, we are going towards an economic crisis due the mess one man created and he is Imran Khan," she chided.
"He doesn't care about anyone [...] he has a one-point agenda: to attack and destroy institutions."
Aurangzeb further castigated the PTI for creating political instability in the country by passing controversial statements every day.
"This is their strategy, to wreck the hard work we are doing to save the country," she claimed, urging institutions to take action against the PTI chief under the Constitution.
"He is an animal and if you give him more freedom, he will continue to act this way. Get rid of him as per the law and Constitution," she added.
The minister also reiterated that fresh elections would only be held when the ECP and the incumbent government deem it to be appropriate.
Fawad doubles down on demand for CEC's resignation
Talking to the media earlier in the day, PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry said that his party was "ready for dialogue" with the government over electoral reforms but reiterated their demand for the CEC's resignation.
"Our agenda is clear. The CEC should resign and a new trustable ECP should be constituted by all political parties. Once that is done, Shehbaz Sharif should announce the date for fresh elections."
Only then, will we be ready to talk to the government, he said.
He went on to say that the government had very little time remaining in power. "We can oust them today if we want to. But we want them to take the decision. The ball is in their court.
Fawad was also confident that the PTI would assume power in Punjab by July 22 when the run off election for the province's chief executive takes place.
"And once that happens, we might impose a ban on the entry of Rana Sanaullah in the province," he revealed.
Chaudhry said that the interior minister and PML-N leader Attaullah Tarar had inflicted immense injustices on PTI leaders and accused them of indulging in politics of hatred.
He also suggested that Punjab Chief Minister Hamza Shehbaz should immediately tender his resignation.