'Why wait till Friday?': Govt eggs on Imran to dissolve assemblies immediately instead of waiting

Published December 17, 2022
A combination photo of federal ministers Rana Sanaullah and Marriyum Aurangzeb and adviser to prime minister Qamar Zaman Kaira. — DawnNewsTV
A combination photo of federal ministers Rana Sanaullah and Marriyum Aurangzeb and adviser to prime minister Qamar Zaman Kaira. — DawnNewsTV

Minutes after PTI Chairman Imran Khan on Saturday announced the date for dissolving the Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa assemblies, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah questioned why there was a need to wait till next week.

A short while ago, in a video address with Punjab Chief Minister Parvez Elahi and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Mahmood Khan by his side, Imran said his two provincial governments will dissolve their assemblies on December 23 (Friday) to pave the way for fresh elections.

Responding to the development during an interview on Geo News show Naya Pakistan, Sanaullah said: “I can’t understand what are they waiting to do till next Friday. If they have decided then they should dissolve the assemblies today.”

He alleged that the PTI and the PML-Q “will try to find an excuse that some no-confidence motion appears or a direction from the governor arrives” so Punjab Chief Minister Parvez Elahi could “have an excuse” to continue his tenure.

He questioned the logic behind this “drama” of waiting till next week if the two parties had actually decided to dissolve the assemblies. “Sign the summaries and send them,” the interior minister challenged.

Questioned on whether the PML-N would submit a no-confidence motion in the Punjab Assembly to block the dissolution, Sanaullah admitted that a section of the PML-N’s parliamentary party held that opinion.

“However, there is also an opinion that they (PTI and PML-Q) shouldn’t be stopped. They should resign and exit the government and then [we] should move forward in accordance with the law and the Constitution, keeping in mind the situation that develops.”

The interior minister added that the party leadership and supremo Nawaz Sharif would make the final decision on the government’s response in the next day or two.

He expressed scepticism that the two parties would follow through on their announcement. “You will see how this matter will pan out in a week’s time. I still fear that they end up doing nothing while making up some excuse,” he added.

The interior minister later followed up this thought in a tweet, saying that “PTI will back off from its today’s announcement of dissolving assemblies within a week taking into account the history of the party’s U-turns.”

When questioned on the hope of any negotiations between the government and the opposition, Sanaullah said he was not in favour of such a development, adding that he wanted the two parties to exit their governments.

Imran will now understand his real standing: Kaira

Meanwhile, Adviser to Prime Minister on Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan Qamar Zaman Kaira questioned what stopped the PTI from taking the dissolution step a month ago.

“What was stopping them today? They should have stood up today and announced [the dissolution] and went and submitted the summaries in the assemblies.”

He said the other camp was perhaps “hoping of a middle path” to appear from somewhere to provide some “facesaving”. Kaira expressed confusion that why the PTI would take a step a week later which it was not prepared to do so today.

“Khan sahab will now understand, when he won’t have his governments, how politics is done in Pakistan,” the minister said, adding that the PTI chief would come to understand his real “standing”.

Courage required to dissolve assemblies: Aurangzeb

On the other hand, Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb said “courage” was required to dissolve assemblies and not “dates.”

Addressing a press conference in Islamabad after Imran’s announcement, she accused the former prime minister of “creating a ruckus” regarding the dissolution of assemblies so that “he can protect the theft he conducted during his tenure”.

“They are creating this ruckus so that other issues against him in the form of foreign funding, cipher and Toshakhana can be suppressed,” she said.

Aurangzeb asked Imran why he didn’t dissolve the assemblies “when Gen (R) [Qamar Javed] Bajwa was not letting him work and hold the corrupt accountable”.

“You have protected your theft through the power of these assemblies,” she said. “The corruption in KP will also come to light when the assemblies are dissolved.”

“You should have dissolved the assemblies today,” the information minister said. “What are you waiting for? Why wait till Friday?”

She maintained that Imran “can never dissolve the assemblies because they provide a cover for his corruption”.

Fawad explains wait till next week

Meanwhile, PTI Vice President Fawad Chaudhry expanded on the rationale behind the wait till next week.

He said there was a six-day break till the step was taken because the PTI still had to process the matter of resigning from the National Assembly.

In his announcement, Imran also said that PTI lawmakers would go to National Assembly Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf and demand that he accept their resignations all at once.

However, the NA speaker told Dawn.com that he would not accept resignations without their confirmation.

“Even if all MNAs arrive, I will not accept any resignation without the confirmation of each member.”

He said that the privacy of the members was important to him and he would personally discuss the acceptance of each MNA’s resignation with them.

“It is not right for all members to come before me and submit their resignations. Members should come to my chamber one by one for confirmation.

“There cannot be a rally on the issue of resignations. Members are shy [about disagreeing] in front of each other so I will not accept resignations given in front of everyone,” the NA speaker said.

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