LAHORE: Indicating that he has advance knowledge of which audio clips from the PM Office may be leaked in the days to come, PTI chief Imran Khan on Monday took aim at Chief Election Commissioner Sikan­dar Sultan Raja, calling him a “servant of the Sharif family” and demanding his resignation.

Addressing a ceremony held to launch an ‘Education and Skills Integration’ project at the Gove­rnment College Univ­er­sity, the former prime minister clai­med that more audio clips would eme­r­ge in the coming days, inc­luding one featuring a conversation where his disqualification in the Tosha­khana case was being discussed by PML-N lea­der Mar­yam Nawaz, in a conversation with her father, Nawaz Sharif.

“There are more [clips] to come in the series of audio leaks… you should wait for them in the coming days,” Imran Khan said, giving rise to speculation that the PTI chief might have gotten his hands on the ‘hacked’ trove of audio clips, featuring the members of the coalition government.

“I am hearing that a [recording] will emerge where Maryam will tell abba jee [Nawaz] that the election commission has said they will disqualify Imran Khan in the Toshakhana case and that there is no need to worry,” he said, referring to the as-yet unreleased tape. “This is the [state of the] election commission.”

Accuses CEC of being ‘servant of Sharifs’; slams Shehbaz for sidelining Kashmir cause for ‘deal’ with India

Lashing out at the CEC, he alleged that Mr Raja received his instructions from the PML-N supreme leader on when to hold elections and who to disqualify.

The ex-premier alleged: “I continued to advocate the use of the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) for free and fair elections, but [CEC] Raja continued to create hurdles on the instructions of Nawaz Sharif and Asif Zardari.”

During his speech, the PTI chief also took swipes at Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif over a conversation between the premier and an unidentified individual regarding the possible import of power generation machinery from India for Maryam Nawaz’s son-in-law.

He said the PTI government had ended trade ties with India after the annexation of Kashmir in 2019.

“There are still no [trade] relations but Maryam’s son-in-law wants to import machinery from India,” he said and castigated PM Sharif for his response on the matter. “He [PM Sharif] suggests that the machinery be imported via the third country rather than telling them not to import at all,” he said.

Imran Khan further claimed that a grid station at the housing society of Ms Nawaz’s son-in-law worth Rs700 million would be built using taxpayers’ money.

Meeting with Elahi

Imran Khan also met Punjab CM Parvez Elahi at the Chief Minister’s Office on Monday to discuss the prevailing political situation and development schemes in the province.

Mr Khan appreciated the steps taken by the government for the rehabilitation of the flood-hit population. He said the Punjab government’s aid package would ensure “early rehabilitation of the affected families” and stressed that the welfare schemes should be accelerated to provide necessary relief to the people.

During the meeting, the chief minister said that all hospitals in the province would be converted to solar energy in phases to reduce the power expense.

During a briefing about the Punjab Control of Narcotics Substance Act 2022, CM Elahi said the legislation was being enacted to make educational institutes drug-free. He said strict punishment would be proposed for selling drugs in higher education institutes. He added that the government was legislating to keep minimum punishment up to two years and life imprisonment as a maximum sentence.

The CM added that an autonomous institution, special force, and special courts would be set up to eradicate the drug trade.

Published in Dawn, September 27th, 2022

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