Early, fair elections only way forward: Imran

PTI chief accuses government of trying to control state institutions

Former prime minister and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan said on Monday that immediate and transparent election in the country is the only way for democracy to move forward.

During a meeting with PTI leader Babar Awan, the PTI chief said that the incumbent government is making all possible efforts to control state institutions.

“Immediate and transparent elections is the only way for democracy to move forward in the country,” he said.

Babar Awan said that the coalition government is trampling democratic traditions in the name of legislation, adding: “We will fully defend democratic values at the constitutional and legal level.”

On Wednesday, former information minister Chaudhry Fawad Hussain said that the PTI would challenge the recently introduced amendments to the NAB law.

“The PTI had acquired the services of senior lawyer Khawaja Haris, who would file a petition against the National Accountability (Second Amendment) Bill 2021 under Article 184 (3) of the constitution.” Imran had also criticised the government for amending the NAB law.

Addressing a press conference the other day, the former premier said that the changes in the law will lead to corruption.

“These rulers should be put in jail for their shamelessness. Nobody can pass such laws as this government did,” he said, adding that the party would challenge the amendments in the Supreme Court this week.

Meanwhile, the PTI has asked the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to allot “lota” to the parties in the ruling coalition contesting by-elections in Punjab as their election symbol.

Chaudhry Fawad, in an open letter to the election commissioner, made the request. The letter further stated that the PML-N and the PPP, which have been promoting shameful practices like horse-trading and floor-crossing in Punjab, have announced an electoral alliance.

He said that PML-N and the PPP have fielded those candidates in the by-polls who were disqualified by the ECP over floor-crossing allegations.

Separately, former finance minister Shaukat Tarin Thursday said that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has asked the government of Pakistan to impose further taxes of Rs440 billion.

“The actual budget will be unveiled now,” the ex-finance minister told the Senate after the money lender and Pakistan reached a “broad agreement” on the budgetary and fiscal measures for the next fiscal year (FY) 2022-23.

The PTI leader said that the Upper House of parliament is fulfilling formalities by debating the budget as the “actual budget” will be presented in the National Assembly (NA) – after it is tuned in line with the IMF’s demands.

The statement came hours after Finance Minister Miftah Ismail revealed in a press conference that the coalition government had imposed taxes on the rich in the budget for the next FY23.

Miftah said another 1 per cent ‘supertax’ would be imposed on people earning more than Rs150 million, 2 per cent on income of more than Rs200 million, 3 per cent on people earning more than Rs250 million and 4 per cent on income of more than Rs300 million per annum.

He revealed that he would wrap up the federal budget for the next fiscal year 2022-23 today (Friday) with his closing speech in the Lower House of parliament.