Former information minister Fawad Chaudhry on Monday said that PTI’s senior leadership has approved the decision to dissolve the Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa assemblies.
“The date of dissolution will be announced after consultation with the parliamentary party,” he told media persons in Lahore.
Over the weekend, PTI chief Imran Khan — in a mammoth gathering in Rawalpindi — had announced his party’s intention to disassociate itself from the “current corrupt political system” by quitting the assemblies of KP and Punjab.
However, a final decision would only be taken after consultations with chief ministers in both provinces, while a final decision in this regard would be made after a meeting of the PTI’s parliamentary party, Imran had said.
Later, Punjab Chief Minister Chaudhry Pervez Elahi had brushed aside concerns of any resistance from him regarding PTI’s plan, acknowledging that he owed his government to Imran and would oblige to his instructions immediately.
In a media talk today, Chaudhry said that the PTI chief had met KP Chief Minister Mahmood Khan today and had a meeting scheduled with Punjab’s Elahi tomorrow (Tuesday).
“The process of allotting tickets has begun […] 563 seats from across the country will be vacated and elections will be held on them. On Friday, a meeting of the Punjab parliamentary party has been scheduled, while a meeting in KP has been called on Saturday.
“After these meetings, the assemblies will be dissolved,” the PTI leader asserted, saying that the party would also tender resignations in the Sindh and Balochistan assemblies.
“We have written to the National Assembly speaker regarding our resignations as well,” he said.
Chaudhry also stated that the opposition would also be invited to hold consultations with the government in both provinces over the formation of the interim government.
“We still want to go ahead with general elections […] be it 7 or 8 months, PTI will win for sure.”
The PTI leader then called on the government to announce the date for general elections and dissolve the National Assembly. “If you don’t, then PTI will dissolve the assemblies wherever it rules.”
“We are here to save Pakistan and we will save it,” he added.
Meanwhile, earlier today, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) maintained that by-polls will be held within 60 days if mass resignations were served in Punjab and KP assemblies.
ECP Spokesperson Ibrahim Shinwari, in a statement today, clarified that if the provincial assemblies were to be dissolved, elections will only be carried out on the seats of those particular assemblies rather than the National Assembly seats.
The ECP official acknowledged that it would be difficult to hold by-polls and general elections in the same year but added that the Commission was bound by the law to carry out the task.
“Delimitations of constituencies and holding local-body polls was also a difficult task but we still did it,” Shinwari said. “We will hold the by-polls according to the law even if it will be difficult to do so.”
The ECP spokesperson said if KP and Punjab assemblies get dissolved, the Commission will have to hold elections on combined 411 seats, and the complete cost of the entire process will be Rs22 billion approximately.
“The cost of by elections in each constituency will be Rs50 to 70 million,” he added.