Imran Khan warns of taking to the streets if SC order on Punjab polls violated
Imran Khan asked the government to dissolve the National Assembly by May 14 if it wants elections across the country on the same day
Former Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan on Monday warned the incumbent Pakistan government and the military establishment that his party would take to the streets to establish the rule of law if the Supreme Court’s order on holding polls in Punjab province on May 14 was violated.
Khan's remarks came as he led a big rally of his party in Lahore.
A large number of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) workers gathered at the Liberty Chowk where Khan reached in a bullet-bomb-proof vehicle.
"We will not get trapped in the PMLN-led government’s ill-intentioned plan to delay elections. We will take to the streets if the Supreme Court’s order on holding polls in Punjab on May 14 is violated," Khan said.
He asked the government to dissolve the National Assembly by May 14 if it wants elections across the country on the same day.
"If the government does not agree to dissolve the National Assembly by May 14, then there will be no more talks with it and the elections in Punjab will be held on May 14 as per SC's order," he said.
The final round of talks between the government and the PTI will be held on Tuesday.
“I am warning the thieves (Sharifs and Zardaris) and their handlers (military establishment) that if they go against the Constitution and do not accept the SC, the nation will come out with me and on the roads to back the apex court and establish the rule of law," Khan said and called on his supporters to prepare for the battle of true freedom.
He alleged that the government was running away from elections as it feared defeat to the PTI and wanted to remove him from the political arena.
The cricketer-turned-politician said the apex court had already ordained May 14 as the date for the Punjab polls, adding that the only case where the elections would not be held was if the government agreed with his party’s stance on joint elections.
Laying down the PTI’s condition for one-day polls, Khan said that the remaining assemblies should be dissolved by May 14, adding that the party was only engaging in negotiations with the government at the chief justice’s advice.
“But if they’re making excuses for (holding) elections after (passing the) budget … if they think we will get trapped in their ill-intentioned plan and will wait for elections till September … then don’t have any misconception,” he said, adding that the PTI would take legal recourse in such a case.
In a series of tweets, Khan said: "Want to thank our workers & people of Lahore for coming out in such large numbers to join our rally in support of our Labour & vulnerable segments of our society.
"But, above all, for coming out in support of the rule of law, our Constitution & Supreme Court. Those who are violating the Constitution & committing contempt of the SC verdict should know that the people of Pakistan will be out in the streets to defend our Constitution and our SC," he added.
Talks between the government and Khan's PTI commenced last week on the advice of the Supreme Court.
However, chances that the dialogue will yield positive results are starting to look “very slim” after Khan demanded the dissolution of the National Assembly by May 14 to pave the way for a successful outcome of talks.
The government has termed Khan's ultimatum “impracticable” and asked him to be more flexible for the success of this dialogue between the two sides. The main opposition party PTI is determined to press for polls in the provincial legislatures, but the government maintains its stance on simultaneous elections across the country.
The National Assembly will complete its five-year term in August this year.
According to the Constitution, elections shall be held within 90 days after the dissolution of the lower house. This means that the election must be held by mid-October. The last general election was held in July 2018.
PTI chief Khan was ousted from power in April after losing a no-confidence vote in his leadership, which he alleged was part of a US-led conspiracy targeting him because of his independent foreign policy decisions on Russia, China, and Afghanistan.
Khan, who came to power in 2018, is the only Pakistani Prime Minister to be ousted in a no-confidence vote in Parliament.