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No ‘relationship’ with new military leadership now: Imran Khan

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  • PTI “sacrificed” two assemblies for polls, Khan says.
  • He claims incumbent govt in power via horse-trading.
  • Transparent polls crucial to steer out of economic crisis.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan said on Wednesday that his party currently had no contact with the new military leadership.

The deposed prime minister, speaking during an interview with BBC Urdu, denies links with army chief General Syed Asim Munir and claimed that the general elections will take place in April 2023. 

Blaming former army chief Gen (retd) Qamar Javed Bajwa for “helping the government in ruling the country”, the PTI chief predicted that the government will now be “forced to hold general elections this April”.

“When they came into power, they ended their corruption cases worth Rs1,100 billion,” he said.

Censuring the incumbent government for the economic crisis in the country, the former premier said that Pakistan’s economic conditions were never like this, emphasising that fair and transparent polls are the only solution to these problems.

“The current government led by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has come into power through horse-trading,” claimed the PTI chief.

The PTI chief added that the coalition rulers have kept themselves above the law and ended the corruption cases that they were booked in years back. “Shehbaz Sharif, Nawaz Sharif, Asif Zardari, and Maryam Nawaz — all of their cases have been forgiven.”

He said that in a bid to move towards free and fair elections, his party “sacrificed” two assemblies — Khyber Pakhtunkwa and Punjab. “Now this government will be forced into holding elections in April.”

‘Sri Lanka-like situation’

Explaining the reason behind the ongoing economic crisis, the ex-PM said that no investor or businessperson trusts the incumbent government and neither do foreign investors.

“Pakistan has been plunged into a quagmire. To save the country from a Sri Lanka-like situation, we need free and fair elections,” the PTI chairman said.

Khan said he feared another economic crisis was in the offing as the foreign exchange reserves had depleted to $4 billion and commodities of the same value were stuck at the ports because of the shortage of dollars.

“The prices of commodities are rising, unemployment is increasing, and industries are shutting down,” the PTI chief said.

Pakistan’s economy has crumbled alongside a simmering political crisis, with the rupee plummeting and inflation at decades-high levels, while devastating floods and a major shortage of energy have piled on further pressure.

The South Asian nation’s enormous national debt — currently $274 billion, or nearly 90% of gross domestic product — and the endless effort to service it makes Pakistan particularly vulnerable to economic shocks.

Establishment’s role in Punjab

Shedding light on the political situation in Punjab, the former prime minister said that the establishment tried to make Parvez Elahi the chief minister with Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) backing.

“Elahi was loyal to us, we had to return the favour and now they will be merged in PTI and become a part of us,” the former premier said.

He further added that “someone should ask them why had they brought down our government through a foreign conspiracy?”

Khan went on to say that the economy under our government was performing very well in 17 years. What were we doing wrong that our government was brought down?”

The former premier maintained that after ousting PTI from power, now they are unable to maintain the economy, adding that “Gen Bajwa was told that if this conspiracy becomes successful then the economy could not be sustained.”

They could not maintain the economic condition and the market immediately lost confidence in the incumbents, the former premier added.

After assuming power, they realised that they did not have any road map for ameliorating the economic conditions of Pakistan.

Elections

Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri’s JUI-F resignation from the Senate

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Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani received the JUI-F leader’s resignation, which he accepted.

In the National Assembly, Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri will be sworn in as a member.

Following their victories in the general elections on February 8 for the Balochistan Assembly, Senators Sarfraz Bugti and Prince Umar Ahmedzai had already announced their resignations from the Senate.

Prior carer Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani received the resignation of Federal Interior Minister Bugti, which he accepted.

In a similar vein, Senator Prince Umar Ahmedzai of the Balochistan Awami Party resigned from the Senate following his election to the provincial legislature.

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Elections

NA session: The interim government addresses President Alvi’s concerns

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Details indicate that in response, the federal government informed Dr. Arif Alvi that Article 91 of the 1973 Constitution does not grant the president the “discretion or power” to adjourn the National Assembly session.

The sources quoted the federal administration and said, “Nowhere in Article 91 is it written that if the House is incomplete, the National Assembly session cannot be convened.”

It further said that Article 54 of the constitution allowed the president to adjourn the National Assembly’s “ordinary” session alone. According to the summary, the president was requested to call an extraordinary session of the National Assembly so that the newly elected members may take an oath of office.

Dr. Arif Alvi was asked to reconsider his choice and call a meeting of the National Assembly by the acting federal government on February 29.

The sources quoted the federal government and stated, “It is not written anywhere in the constitution that if specific seats are not allotted, the session cannot be called.”

It further said that the National Assembly must be called within 21 days following the election in accordance with Clause 2 of Article 91 of the constitution.

The caretaker administration responded, saying, “Even if the President does not call the National Assembly session by February 29, it would still be held on the same day.”

Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf called a session of the National Assembly on Thursday, February 29th, in order to administer the oath to the newly elected Members of Congress earlier on Monday.

According to specifics, President Arif Alvi declined to call a meeting under clause 2 of Article 91 of the constitution, arguing that the lower body is still unfinished because a decision on certain reserved seats has not yet been made. Consequently, the Speaker National Assembly called the meeting.

The National Assembly’s maiden session was called by Raja Pervaiz Ashraf on Thursday at 10:00 a.m. The freshly elected members of the National Assembly would take the oath of office from the Speaker. During the first session, the election schedules for speaker and deputy speaker will also be released.

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Pakistan

Maryam Nawaz honours ASP Shehr Bano For His Extraordinary Courage

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Maryam Nawaz, the PML-N’s nominee for chief minister of Punjab, honours young police officer Shehr Bano for displaying extraordinary bravery, insight, and courage.

According to Maryam Nawaz, if the female police officer hadn’t arrived in time, a catastrophe may have happened.

The country is proud of you, she said as she praised Shehr Bano.

According to Maryam Nawaz, Shehr Bano maintained humanity and the law in the face of pressure, numbers, and circumstances.

She stated that it is required of every police officer to contribute to the defence of individuals’ lives and property.

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