PTI chairman and former prime minister Imran Khan said on Wednesday that he will announce the date for the dissolution of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab assemblies — where his party is in power — on December 17.
“I have completed consultations with the party and we have decided that in a gathering at Lahore’s Liberty Chowk, I will give my nation the date for the dissolution of the KP and Punjab assemblies,” he said in an address to the nation.
Last month, Imran announced that his party would disassociate itself from the “current corrupt political system” by quitting the assemblies of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab.
However, in an interview with Bol News earlier this month, the PTI chief said that he may delay the dissolution of Punjab and KP assemblies if political players agreed to come to the table and decide that the general election would be called maximum by the end of next March.
In his address today, the former premier said that the dissolution of assemblies would pave the way for elections.
“The law says that as soon as assemblies are dissolved, elections should be held within 90 days. So on Dec 17, I will give the date and after that 70 per cent of the country will go into election mode.
“Logically, if elections are held in 70pc of the country […] then they might just hold general elections. But it is our misfortune that criminals are sitting [in the government] and they don’t care about the country,” he said.
Imran claimed that the government was waiting for “round three of looting the country” and was “in no mood for elections” due to the fear of losing. “Their interests and the nation’s interests are on opposing ends.”
Along with the dissolution of assemblies, PTI lawmakers would also go to the National Assembly and demand the acceptance of their resignations from the speaker, he added.
‘Pakistan on the edge of destruction’
At the outset of his address, Imran warned that Pakistan’s economy was heading toward destruction because there was no justice in the country.
“In my 70 years of life, I have never before witnessed what is happening in Pakistan today […] the shameful way big cases of criminals are being closed […] such things don’t even happen in banana republics.
“Big criminals who were convicted are returning one by one as cases against them are being scrapped. And all of this is happening under NRO 2,” the PTI chief claimed.
He gave the example of the return of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s son to Pakistan, saying Suleman should first provide details of the corruption scandal against him.
“Today, I want to tell my nation that I have been saying these things for the last 26 years […] I have been saying that the reason why corruption and these mafias exist in Pakistan is the lack of rule of law,” Imran stressed.
‘Not seeking help from establishment’
Imran went on to say that it was important for all the stakeholders — including the establishment and judiciary — to realise that Pakistan’s economy was standing at a crucial point today.
There is inflation, unemployment, industries are closing down and the markets have lost confidence in the government, he said.
“I want to say this to all the institutions today […] what is happening today will affect all of you […] the entire country will go down and if that happens, national security will be impacted the most.”
Imran also pointed out that there was a perception that the PTI was “seeking help from the establishment”.
“I want to clarify today that I’m not asking for help from anyone […] I want the establishment to be neutral so its honour increases,” he highlighted, saying that in the last few years the distance between the establishment and the public had grown.
“This country needs a strong army […] in any situation, I don’t want our army to be weakened. A strong army is in Pakistan’s interest and this will only happen when the military is neutral and doesn’t interfere [in politics].”
The PTI chief also said that criticising some “black sheep” in the institution was “not the same as criticising the army”.
“If there are black sheep in the institutions […] then the institution should raise its stature by taking action against them.”
Imran lamented the treatment meted out to PTI party leaders Azam Swati and Shahbaz Gill, saying that “attempts have been made to weaken Pakistan’s biggest national party”.
“Is the state of human rights in Pakistan? With all due respect, I want to ask the court today that if you can’t protect our fundamental rights then who will,” he asked.
Toshakhana and foreign funding cases
Furthermore, Imran said that both the Toshakhana and foreign funding cases against him were a part of the “chief election commissioner’s one-point agenda to disqualify Imran Khan”.
“The day the Toshakhana case goes to court […] I can say in writing that everything I did was legal,” he pressed. “And same is the case with the foreign funding case.
“Whenever the investigation is completed, it’ll be clear that the PTI is the only party in the country that did political fundraising in a proper manner.”
The former prime minister said that his party had approached the courts several times with the plea that funding cases of all political parties should be heard together. “Why is it not happening? Because when the cases open every one will find out how they raise funds.”
Imran also asserted that he would not “run out of the country” no matter how many cases were lodged against him.