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Photo Source: Dawn

Pakistan Reader# 460, 10 December 2022

PML-N ‘dares’ PTI to dissolve Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa assemblies



The stalemate between the PTI and the government continues

Bhoomika Sesharaj

On 9 December, the PML-N challenged PTI and Imran Khan to dissolve the Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) assemblies “without any delay” and said that the party ruling the country was prepared to hold elections in the province in the next three months. In a rare response that shifted the PML-N’s defensive stance, the party’s leader and Interior Minister Rana Sanalluah said that he “challenged” Imran Khan to “immediately” dissolve the Punjab and KP assemblies and that Imran Khan should “stop” inciting excuses and “have courage” to dissolve them at once. Further, he added that the PML-N would defeat the PTI in Punjab and that the assembly polls would determine the future of the next general elections in the country. 

Sanaullah said that the party has prepared efforts to bring back Nawaz Shariff to the political scene again, and emphasised that his return would leave a lasting impact on the outcome of the elections and that the decision to return to Pakistan was decided “solely” by Nawaz Shariff himself. Additionally, he also downplayed that discussions between President Arif Alvi and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar were limited to the economic issues of the country and that the polls would be held in October 2023. He also hinted at the PML-N and the PPP being on the “same page” when it came to the elections in Punjab and said that they would “fight like allies” as their main opponent is the PTI. 

Deadlock between PTI and the government continues
Formal talks between the government and the PTI stood at a standstill once again as the two sides stood at opposite stances on early elections amid reports of a “backdoor” contact between the two. Media reports said that discussions between the two sides have started as Imran Khan and the government have provided “one representative” each to President Arif Alvi and that talks if any have hit a deadlock. 

PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry denied these developments and said that if talks are being held openly or through a “backdoor” the PTI would have a clear stance and would comply with the government if they agree o hold early polls. He said that the PTI could not allow the government to “further ruin the economy” by dissolving the Punjab and KP assemblies immediately and that the party would not back out of its decision to dissolve the two assemblies by the end of December.

JUI-F pushes for a ‘change in attitude’ of the institutions
On 9 December, Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman called out the institutions and asked for a “change” in their attitudes toward their stances in battling political and economic situations. He said that the JUI-F’s manifesto considered all the provinces to be the owner of their natural resources and that the people of Balochistan are owners of their resources as well. He emphasised that the state needed to be saved through the recognition of the rights of the small provinces and their involvement could “remove” their “sense of deprivation” in the country. Additionally, he remarked that international institutions have “taken away” political and economic freedoms and that the change in attitudes of the institutions of the country should be in accordance with the Consitution, and that “everyone should work together for peace and stability in the country,” so that economic objectives could be met. (Zulqemain Tahir, “PML-N dares PTI to dissolve Punjab, KP assemblies,” Dawn, 10 December 2022; Syed Irfan Raza, “Govt, PTI ‘rigid’ amid whispers of ‘backdoor’ talks,” Dawn, 10 December 2022; Saleem Shahid, “Fazl wants institutions to ‘walk the talk’ on neutrality,” Dawn, 10 December 2022)

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