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‘Establishment might push for snap polls in April’

Imran summons his MNAs on Dec 28 to chalk out strategy on resignations

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan on Sunday said that the establishment was likely going to push for general elections in April 2023.

Talking to senior journalists in Lahore, he expressed confidence that Punjab Chief Minister Chaudhry Parvez Elahi would take a vote of confidence from the legislative assembly before the Lahore High Court’s (LHC) next hearing on January 11. On December 17, Imran had announced that the Punjab Assembly would be dissolved in a week. However, in a bid to stop the dissolution, the governor had on December 19 ordered Elahi to take a vote of confidence two days ahead of the PTI chief’s deadline. But that did not happen as Speaker Sibtain Khan said the assembly was in session and a new one could not be called, as it would be unconstitutional.

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“I have no contact with the establishment… it seems that it is going to push for general elections in April,” Imran said. He said that the general election would be held when two assemblies of the country were dissolved. “We have no issues even if there is a delay in holding general election despite the dissolution of assemblies,” he added. The former premier said that the PTI did not dissolve the assemblies immediately as it had to convince the allies as well.

Meanwhile, Imran summoned all his party’s MNAs to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) House in Islamabad on December 28 to chalk out a strategy of their resignations. PTI Senior Vice President Chaudhry Fawad confirmed that the party chairman had summoned the session, adding that Imran would address the MNAs via video link from Zaman Park Lahore.

On the other hand, PTI leader Farrukh Habib said that lawmakers from his party would be visiting the National Assembly on Wednesday for the acceptance of their resignations as members of the Lower House.

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The PTI had announced mass resignations from the NA in April this year, a day after party chief Imran Khan’s ouster as the prime minister through a no-confidence vote.

Then-NA deputy speaker Qasim Suri, in the capacity of the house’s acting speaker, had subsequently accepted the resignations of 123 PTI MNAs. However, incumbent Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf later decided to verify the resignations and eventually accepted the resignations of just 11 lawmakers on July 27, with the PTI taking an exception to the acceptance of a select few resignations.

While Ashraf maintained on Thursday that he could not approve any resignations unless he was satisfied that they were “voluntary and genuine”, he invited the party’s lawmakers to appear for the verification of their resignations.

However, PTI Senator Shibli Faraz announced the same day that the party would be approaching the Supreme Court and not the speaker for the acceptance of the mass resignations.

Breaking from this stance, Habib, while talking to the media in Faisalabad on Sunday, said, “We are going to the National Assembly on Wednesday to get our resignations accepted.”

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