LAHORE: As he reiterated his demand for elections within 90 days of the dissolution of provincial assemblies of Punjab and KP, former prime minister Imran Khan taunted the ruling coalition for saying they would not accept the decision of the CJP-led bench.
He said Pakistan was facing a ‘defining’ moment and asked his supporters, particularly the legal community, to be prepared to protect the Constitution.
In a comment on PDM’s assertion that it would not accept the verdict of the current bench after its demand for a full bench was turned down by the chief justice, Mr Khan wondered whether the ruling alliance was only going to “accept the decisions that are favourable to them”?
Mr Khan asked the alliance to explain the reasons for postponing polls till October – what benefit would it entail for the country. “I know what kind of benefits this cabal of corrupts would get. They are just delaying elections hoping to crush the PTI or finish Imran Khan, but what would Pakistan get,” he asked. “Will the economy improve in this political instability,” he asked.
He also downplayed the rise in militancy, saying the law and order “excuse is a matter of few blasts here and there and they can delay the polls again”.
The PTI chief said if polls were delayed beyond 90 days then the country would turn into a “lawless state”. “Once the constitution is violated, the law of jungle takes over: it is then free for all. We would not let it happen,” the former premier said.
Speaking about the role of the Supreme Court, Imran Khan said the top court was not adjudicating on the issue of elections, rather it was going to interpret the Constitution.
In a reference to the no-confidence motion against his government in April last year that was implemented after the intervention of the apex court, the PTI chairman questioned why the PDM did not object when the court was opened at midnight “when I had dissolved the assembly and called for elections”.
He added, “In the suo motu, our dissolution [of National Assembly] and elections were rejected. The PTI did not object to the decision.” Mr Khan said the government was opposed to the three-member bench because they were afraid of losing elections.
“Pakistan is facing a critical moment in its history. The nation must stand by the Constitution and rule of law. The lawyer community has a special role to play in the current circumstances… [they have] responsibility to protect constitutionality and legality of the nation,” the former PM added.
Earlier, Imran Khan told journalists who had called on him at his Zaman Park residence that the PTI would take to the streets if elections were delayed beyond 90 days.
He also denied that President Arif Alvi was playing any role to mend ties between the PTI and the military establishment. Mr Khan alleged that ex-army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa wanted a “friendly relationship” with India and claimed that it became one of the reasons that he parted ways with the former army chief.
Published in Dawn, April 2nd, 2023
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