ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf leader Fawad Chaudhry announced on Sunday that the party will stage protest demonstrations outside the offices of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) across the country on April 26 against the conduct of Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikander Sultan Raja.
Chaudhry, thorough his official Twitter account, said a meeting of the party’s political committee was held on Sunday wherein issues pertaining to the ECP were deliberated upon.
He accused the CEC of being “partisan and dishonest” and alleged that a declaration to de-seat the PTI’s dissident assembly members had still not been issued by the ECP.
“In this connection, the PTI will hold a protest in front of the ECP offices across the country on Tuesday against the behaviour of the election commissioner,” Chaudhry said.
A day ago, PTI Chairman Imran Khan had asked the CEC to tender resignation, saying the party believed him to be “biased”. Addressing a press conference at his Bani Gala residence, Imran had said the PTI did not trust the CEC, alleging all his decisions were against the party.
Last week, he had also stated that the PTI would file a reference against the CEC, as the ECP had displayed “incompetence” by not completing the delimitation of constituencies on time, which delayed early elections.
Meanwhile, CEC Sikander Sultan Raja, speaking on Saturday night, said that he had no intention to resign, and would continue to work in the “best interests of the country”.
“Party starts preparing marching
to march towards capital”: Imran
PTI chairman and former prime minister Imran Khan on Saturday said that he has asked his party to begin preparations for marching to Islamabad.
Addressing a press conference at his Bani Gala residence — his first since his ouster — he said he would announce the date for the march later but directed party leaders, including those at village level, to prepare for the march for “true freedom”.
A huge sea of people would go towards the capital, he said, adding that he had never seen such political awareness among the people.
“People have begun to understand the joke that happened with them and the kind of people placed on us (as rulers),” he said, claiming that there was an unprecedented number of “criminals” and those who were out on bail in the newly formed federal cabinet.
He also said the party would hold prayers on the 27th of Ramazan for the march’s success.
Imran said it had become clear that his claim of there being a foreign conspiracy against his government had proven “true”. The National Security Committee (NSC) also confirmed that the minutes of the body’s meeting last month when he was the premier were “correct”, he added.
A day earlier, a statement issued after the NSC meeting said it discussed the telegram received from the ambassador in Washington — which was first brandished by Imran at the PTI’s rally on March 27 — and “reaffirmed the decisions of the last NSC meeting”.
However, the meeting concluded that “there has been no foreign conspiracy”, according to the statement.
In his press conference today, Imran said yesterday’s NSC meeting had “confirmed that the cable was genuine and the conversation with [US Assistant Secretary of State for Central and South Asia] Donald Lu was real”.
“The language used [in the cable] was undiplomatic. I will say it was arrogance.”
Terming the threat a “shameful” thing for the country, he said former prime minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and military ruler Pervez Musharraf had also received threats. “When a nation bows down before such threats and such conspiracies are successful, no one should have any doubts,” he added.
“We all saw the spectacle after the no-confidence resolution was tabled — our allies suddenly started speaking up and our MNAs also remembered that the situation was not good.”
The former premier said he wanted to clarify the country’s economic situation at the time of his ouster. The current account deficit was the lowest in 11 years, remittances and exports had reached new records, tax collection was at a historic level and five crops saw highest production, he stated.
“Then, this conspiracy was done against us and now, reserves are going down and the rupee is under pressure,” he added.
“Imran ‘playing’ with Pakistan’s
interests to keep his politics alive,
at the cost of country”: Ahsan Iqbal
Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal on Sunday accused former prime minister Imran Khan of “playing with Pakistan’s interests” to keep his “failed politics” alive.
Addressing a press conference in Lahore, the minister said the National Security Committee (NSC) twice dismissed the possibility of any foreign conspiracy, however, “Imran Niazi is playing with national interests to keep his politics alive.”
“If Pakistan wants to be a strong country, we need to have a strong economy,” he said. “That can only happen when we align ourselves with the global economy.”
In his presser, Iqbal alleged that when the PTI was in power, it had hampered the CPEC’s progress and soured ties with the European Union, the United States and even brotherly Muslim countries, risking the isolation of the country.
He said he does not want Pakistan to turn into Cuba or North Korea. “We have to set Pakistan on the path of [development, like] Malaysia, Turkey, China and South Korea.”
“When a no-confidence move was brought against him, he encouraged the deputy speaker (Qasim Suri) to violate the constitution and then portrayed him as a hero,” the minister said, referring to Imran. “Such people are no heroes, they’re criminals. And there will be action against them,” Iqbal asserted.
The minister defended the Supreme Court for its order that saw Imran ousted through a parliament vote after his move to dissolve the National Assembly was reversed by the top court.
“The apex court fulfilled its duty and no one has the right to point fingers at the institution,” he said.
The PML-N leader also accused the PTI of trying to pressurise the Election Commission of Pakistan in an alleged attempt to influence the foreign funding case. Just a day earlier, Imran called on Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja to resign, accusing him of bias. Raja subsequently said there was no valid reason to do so and would remain in his position in the best interests of the country.
Iqbal, in his presser, termed the frequent mentions of “conspiracy” by the ex-PM the “rona-virus”, vowing the country would move forward and the coalition government would fix all issues facing the country.
Iqbal also alleged that Imran sold Toshakhana gifts abroad, thus bringing disrepute to Pakistan. He said the masses would be given relief in “some time”, adding the first priority of the government was to overhaul the economy.
He rejected notions that the government was worried with Imran’s expected march to Islamabad, saying the ousted premier had been doing all of that before and it would likely continue in the future as well.
The minister vowed there would be no “false cases” against Imran and only “genuine cases” would be lodged. “Evidence will guide all our actions,” he said.