LAHORE: Imran Khan’s announcement that Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa assemblies will be dissolved on Friday (today) is far from turning into a reality as recent developments pushed any such action to at least two weeks away.

Punjab Assembly Speaker Sibtain Khan effectively maintains the dissolution has been put on hold till they get the vote of confidence out of their way.

The KP assembly is also not going to be dissolved, at least on Friday.

Though KP Chief Minister Mahmood Khan on Thursday said he would dissolve the assembly the “moment” Imran Khan asked him to do so, PTI insiders told Dawn the legislature would undergo such an action only after the Punjab Assembly was sent packing.

Speaker says no-trust motions against CM, speaker, deputy speaker to be decided by Jan 1, 2023

Earlier in the day, Speaker Sibtain Khan had confirmed that the no-confidence motions moved against the chief minister, speaker and deputy speaker would be decided by Jan 1, 2023. He also wrote a letter to the governor that as per his ruling his (the governor’s) asking the chief minister to take a vote of confidence was against facts because the session of the house summoned by the governor was unconstitutional under Article 209-A of the Punjab Assembly’s Rules of Procedure.

‘Constitutional right’

Earlier, PTI chief Imran Khan on Thursday censured the PDM government for turning its challenge to him to dissolve the provincial assemblies into a complete farce by blocking the “constitutional process” through no-trust vote moves.

“It is our constitutional right to dissolve our governments in Punjab and KP to move forward for fresh general elections, but the scared federal government is taking measures to save ‘our assemblies’,” he stressed, and termed the federal government’s threats to impose Governor Rule or de-notify the chief minister sheer “absurdity”.

Asking the state institutions, including the military establishment and judiciary, whether they were concerned about the country’s well-being, Mr Khan said Pakistan was drowning in crises and time was not far when it would get out of hand.

“Free and fair elections are the only way to restore economic stability through political stability,” he said while speaking to his party’s parliamentarians, workers and supporters, who had gathered on his call outside the Governor House to keep Governor Balighur Rehman from taking any “unconstitutional” action of de-notifying Chief Minister Chaudhry Parvez Elahi.

The PTI workers and supporters, who had also brought along a 100-metre-long PTI flag, chanted slogans against the governor.

Eight months ago, Mr Khan said, “one man” decided to eliminate him and his party through all kinds of aggressive measures, and went on to say the person did to the country what even an enemy could not do.

“The country was progressing on all fronts by leaps and bounds when the person toppled the PTI government and installed thieves and looters and allowed them to get all their corruption cases cleared,” he regretted.

Although the PTI chief had been directly castigating retired Gen Qamar Bajwa, sources in the PML-Q told Dawn that Mr Khan did not name the former army chief as CM Elahi had taken strong exception to accusing the “benefactor” of both the PTI and PML-Q.

The former prime minister said the country’s economy was at its lowest ebb, political stability shattered and terrorism from across Afghanistan on the rise. “Where is the foreign policy?” he asked and chided Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari for allegedly spending Rs1.75 billion on his foreign tours instead of going to Afghanistan to improve relations and control the cross-border attacks.

He stressed the federal government should invest in tribal areas to create jobs as a first step to bringing peace to the region. He also chided the federal government for not giving due shares of funds to Punjab, KP and Kashmir governments.

The PTI chairman also lambasted the elements releasing indecent audios and videos on social media to blackmail him, and regretted that the leaked clips were accessible to “our children”.

Governor’s powers

Punjab Assembly Speaker Sibtain Khan, meanwhile, asserted that the governor did not have the powers to de-notify the chief minister even if the assembly was not in session.

He told the media that the Constitution did not have any provision that empowered a governor to do so.

Published in Dawn, December 23rd, 2022

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