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Imran postpones next anti-govt march until budget announcement

ISLAMABAD: Former prime minister Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party has decided to postpone the second round of its anti-government march to the capital until after the announcement of the next federal budget, said one of its top office-bearers while interacting with the media on Sunday.

Last month, Khan asked his party workers and supporters to come to Islamabad and join him for a sit-in until the dissolution of assemblies and the announcement of fresh elections in the country.

His call was followed by a crackdown on his party leaders and workers in different Pakistani cities, though many of them managed to reach the capital after removing shipping containers placed to block various roads leading to the city.

Khan himself led a caravan from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province before calling off the protest upon reaching the federal capital and asking the government to step down within six days. He held a meeting of his top party members in Islamabad on Sunday to discuss the prevailing political situation in the country.

“The core committee has decided to take the decision regarding the anti-inflation march after June 15,” the PTI vice chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi said.

UPPER DIR: Former prime minister and PTI Chairman Imran Khan addressing a public gathering of his supporters in Upper Dir, KPK on Sunday.

Qureshi said the party had also agreed to participate in the by-elections in 20 provincial assembly constituencies in Punjab. These seats fell vacant last month after a group of dissident PTI lawmakers were disqualified by the election commission for switching loyalties and voting for the candidate of another party for the position of Punjab chief minister.

The PTI leader also criticized the government for mismanaging the economy, saying it was not sure how to deal with the financial challenges facing the country.

Qureshi maintained his party’s government had decided to reduce fuel and power rates despite pressure from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

He blamed the current administration for raising the prices of essential items while making the live of the average Pakistani difficult. “The country’s economy is deteriorating,” he warned.

The coalition government is considering asking National Assem­bly Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf to accept the resignations of those PTI MNAs, including party chairman Imran Khan and vice chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi, who have publicly announced resigning from their seats.

The decision has been made after the PTI leadership directed party lawmakers not to appear before the speaker, who is set to start verifying the resignations of 131 PTI lawmakers from Monday.

Besides, the government has put off a joint sitting of parliament until June 9, apparently to counter President Dr Arif Alvi’s refusal to give his assent to two crucial bills.

All PTI MNAs resigned en masse after their government’s ouster in April. However, the speaker wanted them to appear in person to confirm the “voluntary character and genuineness” of their resignation letters.

A source in the National Assembly Secretariat told Dawn on Sunday the speaker was likely to accept the resignations of Imran Khan and Shah Mahmood Qureshi, as Mr Khan had publicly and Mr Qureshi on the floor of the National Assembly had confirmed their resignations.

The source said the government did not want to accept all resignations in one go to avoid burdening the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) with several by-elections on vacant seats.

Last month, the speaker summoned PTI legislators on June 6. Given that he wanted 30 members to appear before him daily, the exercise is likely to be completed in four to five days.

However, PTI chairman Imran Khan had already announced that no MNA of his party would appear before the speaker in this regard.

Imran Khan

The source said more than two dozen PTI MNAs had contacted the speaker, asking him not to accept their resignations.

Those 30 legislators who had been summoned for personnel appearance on June 6 are Dr Haider Ali Khan (NA-2), Saleem Rehamn (NA-3), Murad Saeed (NA-4), Sahibzada Sibghatullah (NA-5), Mehbood Shah (NA-6), Muhammad Bashir Khan (NA-7), Junaid Akbar (NA-8), Sher Akbar Khan (NA-9), Prince Muhammad Nawaz Allai (NA-12), Ali Khan Jadoon (NA-16), Omar Ayub Khan (NA-17), Asad Qaiser (NA-18), Engr Usman Khan Tarakal (NA-19), Mujahid Ali (NA-20), All Muhammad Khan (NA-22), Malik Anwar Taj (NA-23), Fazal Muhammad Khan (NA-24), Pervez Khattak (NA-25), Imran Khattak (NA-26), Arbab Amir Ayub (NA-28), Nasir Khan Musa Zai (NA-29), Sher Ali Arbab (NA-30), Shaukat Ali (NA-31), Shehryar Afridi (NA-32), Shahid Ahmad (NA-34), Ali Amin Khan (NA-38), Muhammad Yaqoob Sheikh (NA-39), Gul Dad Khan (NA-40), Gul Zafar Khan (NA-41) and Sajid Khan (NA-42).

All PTI lawmakers, except party dissidents, resigned from the National Assembly en masse on April 11 before the scheduled voting began for electing a new prime minister.

ISLAMABAD: Senior PTI leader Shah Mehmood Qureshi briefing media-persons about the deliberations of PTI core committee’s meeting in Islamabad on Sunday.

According to the National Assembly spokesperson, letters had been dispatched to the MNAs to inform them that they had to appear separately before the speaker to endorse that they had given resignation according to their will without any pressure.

Imran Khan summons meeting

PTI chairman Imran Khan has summoned a meeting of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Parliamentary Board Punjab. Sources privy to the development told that PTIs provincial parliamentary board will meet on June 7 to discuss the issue of awarding tickets for by-polls on 20 Punjab seats.

PTI has decided to award election tickets to the party workers in the by-polls which would be held on 20 vacant seats in Punjab on July 17.

After the preliminary decision by the parliamentary board, the final decision of awarding party tickets will be taken by the central leadership of PTI, it emerged.

The final decision regarding awarding party tickets to candidates would be taken by the central leadership of PTI, they added.

It is pertinent to mention here that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) announced that polling for by-election on 20 general seats of Punjab Assembly will be held on July 17.

The ECP has announced a schedule for election on 20 provincial seats vacated after defecting MPAs of the PTI were de-seated. The ECP had de-seated 25 dissident Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) MPAs who voted for PML-Ns Hamza Shahbaz Sharif in Punjab chief ministers election.