Imran Khan invites govt to hold talks over election date

  • Khan warns to dissolve Punjab, KP houses if polls not announced.
  • 66% of Pakistan to vote for by-polls if assemblies dissolved.
  • Says PTI seeks political stability for economic turnaround.

ISLAMABAD, DEC 2: PTI Chairman Imran Khan Friday invited the PDM-led government to talk over the possibility of early general elections and warned that if they dissolved the assemblies in two provinces, around 66% of Pakistan would have to vote for by-polls.

“Give us a date for elections or we will dissolve the KP and Punjab assemblies,” Khan said in a video address to the PTI’s Punjab parliamentary party from his Lahore residence in Zaman Park.

“We have the full backing of PML-Q. CM Punjab Chaudhry Pervez Elahi will disband the provincial assembly on my call.”

He said PTI’s demand for early general elections was the part and parcel of the PTI’s resolve to shore up the country’s economy as the party was totally focused on bringing Pakistan back to its feet.

Khan said the whole world was saying “Pakistan is galloping towards default”. “Remittances have started falling, tax collection is shrinking, default risks are growing higher and higher, while Ishaq Dar is sitting silent in a corner.”

He said economic stability was tied to political stability and there was no other way around it.

“No elections, no political stability in the country,” Khan declared, adding that the coalition government was not willing to consider snap polls because they know they would be wiped out.

Berating the government for botching the economy, Khan said they did not have a roadmap to turn the economic situation of the country around.

“The only plan they have is to somehow have me declared disqualified by filing cases against me and other party leaders.”

Khan — who called off his long march to Islamabad last week — had announced quitting assemblies across the country, including Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab.

The party’s leadership, according to PTI Senior Vice President Fawad Chaudhry, has approved the dissolution of assemblies in both provinces, but the final decision will be made after further consultations.

Sanaullah welcomes Khan’s proposition

In response to Khan’s invitation to talks, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah said Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) leadership “will not refuse dialogue with PTI”.

“Talks against dialogue are considered non-political and undemocratic by the PDM. Its leadership will not refuse to sit and talk. We believe in resolving political matters in a political manner,” he said in a statement reacting to Khan’s invitation.

“When political parties and politicians sit down, deadlocks end and paths to resolve conflicts are found.”

Citing differences within the PDM on various matters, the minister said the coalition would respond to this offer after due consultations.

The interior minister said the government’s stance on conducting elections on time was unchanged. “The government will condemn if PTI attempts to dissolve assemblies, even if the move will favour the PML-N.”

“We do not welcome the act of dissolving assemblies and consider it undemocratic. They can dissolve assemblies if they want to. They will be responsible for it,” the minister maintained.

“We will be in a better position to contest elections if they dissolve assemblies. If elections take place, we will defeat them in Punjab and get majority [seats],” the minister said, adding that the government would be in a better position if polls were held in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

“If we contest the Punjab Assembly’s elections while being in the federal government, then we are in a better position,” he explained.