• Fawad says Chaudhrys will get a share as per party’s strength in the assembly
• Elahi makes unscheduled stop in Pindi, his second in a fortnight

LAHORE / RAWALPINDI: A day before PTI Chairman Imran Khan’s promised announcement regarding the dissolution of the Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa assemblies, the war of nerves reached fever pitch as their coalition partner, the PML-Q, seemed to be looking for a larger slice of the general election pie.

After their attempts to convince party chief Imran Khan to delay the dissolution of assemblies for two more months apparently failed, the PML-Q reportedly said it would remain PTI’s political ally in the next general election, but demanded 25 to 30 seats across the Gujrat division, parts of south Punjab and Sialkot district.

The PML-Q currently holds the citadel of Punjab with its 10 MPAs.

PTI senior leader and former federal minister Fawad Chaudhry acknowledged that the PTI’s seat adjustment with the PML-Q was underway, adding that “the coalition partner will be given a share as per its (strength) and taken along”.

Mr Chaudhry said the PTI chief would announce the dissolution of both provincial assemblies in the much-awaited video-link address that would be heard live by massive public congregations at Liberty Roundabout in Lahore and all other divisional headquarters in the province.

Punjab Chief Minister Chaudhry Parvez Elahi and KP Chief Minister Mahmood Khan would be personally present in the public congregations.

“The dissolution of assemblies will kick-start the political process in the country,” he added.

Fawad Chaudhry said the PTI would continue its ‘Haqeeqi Azadi’ movement in the election campaign until the general elections day.

“Heading towards the general elections and political stability is the only solution to all the ills currently plaguing the well-being of the country.”

Separately, Chief Minister Parvez Elahi tweeted that Imran Khan’s decision would be final with regard to the dissolution of Punjab Assembly.

Mr Elahi also tweeted that the prime minister had become panic-stricken as he even failed to stabilise the economy.

“Masses will bash the incompetent group of 13 political parties in the days to come,” he added in his tweet.

In another tweet, Mr Elahi said the PML-N was an expert in telling lies and chided the federal government for blocking Punjab’s Rs176 billion and lack of support to the Punjab farmers in terms of Thal canal loan agreement.

After coalition partners’ meetings with Imran Khan and party leaders, led by Parvez Elahi’s son Moonis Elahi, the former information minister told the media persons that with the dissolution of Punjab and KP assemblies, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) would be bound to hold the general election in both the provinces.

Sources privy to developments told Dawn that Mr Khan was also informed that the PDM government and ECP might delay general election in Punjab in the wake of the local government elections scheduled in April next — after the holy month of Ramazan.

Mr Chaudhry brushed aside the PML-Q’s projected stance that the PTI should let the ongoing development projects complete and said the 66pc youth bulge could no more be given a bait of development projects in their streets and adjacent roads.

“People are now overwhelmingly voting for the PTI candidates in the name of ‘Haqeeqi Azadi’ (real independence) movement.

Elahi’s detour to Pindi

Also on Friday, Punjab Chief Minister Parvez Elahi air-dashed to the garrison city of Rawalpindi and returned to Lahore after a brief meeting with an “important personality,” sources told Dawn.

This was the second such visit by Mr Elahi in over as many weeks as previously he had undertaken a similar tour on Dec 1. The chief minister had flown to Nur Khan Base in a special plane.

In another development, PM Shahbaz Sharif also held a meeting with another personality in Rawalpindi on Friday before departing for Lahore for the weekend, sources said.

Published in Dawn, December 17th, 2022

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