ISLAMABAD, Aug 6: Former Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan’s party has issued a one-month ultimatum to the coalition government led by Shehbaz Sharif to announce the dates for fresh general elections, saying giving the current dispensation more time will destroy the country’s economy.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Senior Vice-President and former federal Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said on Friday that the party would not give more than “one-month” to the current dispensation led by Prime Minister Sharif to dissolve the National Assembly and announce fresh elections.
“Within the next 48 hours, the party will announce the date of a big meeting in Islamabad… during the gathering, the PTI will issue an ultimatum to the coalition government to announce the date for the election,” the Express Tribune newspaper quoted Chaudhry as saying.
Chaudhry said that even after the ultimatum, if the government doesn’t announce the elections, then “get ready for our actions, as giving more time will destroy the economy of the country.”
The former minister claimed his party had no faith in the Election Commission. “It is not possible that the Election Commission will conduct transparent elections. That is why the change of Election Commission is inevitable; the only way out for political and economic stability is the general election,” the report quoted him as saying.
Imran Khan’s PTI and the Election Commission of Pakistan have been at loggerheads.
The Election Commission on Tuesday said Khan’s party received funds against the rules from 34 foreign nationals, including a businesswoman of Indian-origin, in a major setback to the former prime minister.
Khan has been accusing Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja of being ‘in cahoots’ with ‘imported government.’
The last general election was held in July 2018 and the term of Pakistan’s current National Assembly is till October 2023.
The Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) – which mostly comprises political parties in the ruling coalition, including the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) – last week declared that the next general elections will be held at its scheduled time next year.
On Thursday, Pakistan’s Election Commission said it was preparing to hold general elections by October this year, one year ahead of schedule, as it had completed the work of delimitation of constituencies.
Khan has emphasised that the only way to end the current political crisis in the country was to hold immediate clean and transparent elections.
“There is only one way [to rid the country of political instability]: free and fair elections. When they were removing me, I had announced general elections, but the courts overturned my decision. I still believe it was the right call,” the ousted premier had said.