• Insists matter may not stretch beyond a week or so
• Imran alleges establishment still following ‘Bajwa doctrine’
• Says plans afoot to push elections beyond 2023
LAHORE: The Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa assemblies “will have to be ultimately dissolved” at any cost, PTI senior leader Fawad Chaudhry said on Friday, rhetorically insisting that the matter would not stretch beyond a week or so, despite the chief minister’s assurance to the court that no such action would be taken until a Jan 11 hearing.
“The assemblies will have to be dissolved. Elections will have to happen,” the former information minister told reporters after senior party leaders’ meeting with PTI Chairman Imran Khan on Friday.
On the Lahore High Court’s (LHC) Friday verdict to reinstate PML-Q leader Chaudhry Parvez Elahi as Punjab’s chief minister, Mr Chaudhry said the court had “rightly” rejected the governor’s move to dismiss Mr Elahi.
The LHC’s order came after Mr Elahi submitted an undertaking assuring the court that he would not dissolve the provincial assembly until the next hearing scheduled for Jan 11.
On this, Fawad Chaudhry said the PTI did not agree with the court’s reasoning but ultimately decided to submit an undertaking “for one date [but] not beyond that”.
“Ultimately, the assemblies have to be dissolved — you can take a week or 1.5 weeks, but the matter will not stretch beyond that,” he said.
“The restoration [of the chief minister] has proved that the governor’s notification was unconstitutional […] an unelected and selected governor can’t send an elected chief minister home,” he said. He regretted that former President Asif Ali Zardari and Sindh government ministers had reached Lahore with “bags full of money to attempt to buy PTI and PML-Q lawmakers”.
Mr Chaudhry lambasted the elements that he said had “detained” newly posted chief secretary Abdullah Khan Sumbal and forced him to sign the notification of de-notifying the chief minister and dissolving the provincial cabinet.
The PTI leader said the Punjab Assembly, after adopting a resolution and converting the house proceedings into a privilege committee, had summoned Punjab Governor Balighur Rehman to explain his misconduct and Mr Sumbal to explain what happened and “who forced him to sign the notification after midnight on Thursday”.
“I hope the chief secretary would explain to the Punjab Assembly how he dared to take an unconstitutional step of signing the notification soon after the governor’s unconstitutional order,” Mr Chaudhry said. “Only elected representatives can elect or remove a chief minister.”
Mr Chaudhry urged President Dr Arif Alvi to immediately start proceedings against the governor on a letter written by Punjab Assembly Speaker Sibtain Khan.
‘Military toeing Bajwa doctrine’
Earlier in meetings with party leaders and senior journalists, PTI chief Imran Khan alleged that the military establishment was still toeing the “Bajwa doctrine” and asserted that the top military boss was actually the real establishment.
Mr Khan said he had no contact with the new military establishment. “I did stay in contact with [former army chief retired] Gen Bajwa, but he continued showing green pastures to everyone,” he added.
Acknowledging that the establishment was a reality, Mr Khan said it could play its role in ensuring the rule of law.
Alleging that former army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa had even called Shehbaz Sharif when he was in prison, Mr Khan said the establishment had imposed the corrupt and plunderers to rule the country and added that there were plans to push the elections beyond 2023.
However, he said, the critical economic situation did not warrant taking polls beyond February or March.
Published in Dawn, December 24th, 2022
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