Govt using negotiations to delay elections: Imran

April, 24 : Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan has said that the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) has not yet approached the PTI for negotiations, adding that he fears the government might use the pretense of dialogues to delay elections.

During an interview  on Sunday, the former prime minister added that the government was making the Supreme Court’s (SC) decision of holding elections in Punjab next month “controversial” in order to run away from polls.

He furthered that it was part of the “London plan” to weaken the PTI by registering cases against them and delaying the elections, adding that the ruling coalition also plans to delay elections past October.

Last week, the SC had asked all political parties to evolve a consensus on the date for holding simultaneous general elections of the National Assembly and the four provincial assemblies expeditiously; otherwise, the court had noted, its order regarding the Punjab Assembly elections on May 14 would come into force.

The bench led by Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial and comprising Justice Ijazul Ahsan and Justice Munib Akhtar was hearing a constitution petition filed by a citizen, requesting to hold the elections for the National Assembly and the four provincial assemblies on the same day.

During the interview, Imran added that he has given PTI Central Vice Chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi the mandate to hold talks with the PDM.

“If they give an SC-endorsed proposal on joint and immediate polls — by dissolving their governments in May — only then we can talk. But if they are leaving it open-ended, then it is nothing but a trap,” he maintained.

The deposed prime minister added that the biggest condition is for current caretaker setups to be removed. “These setups have become unconstitutional now and we want genuine caretaker governments to be brought,” Imran added.

The ex-PM further criticised the caretaker Punjab government for “attacking” his Lahore’s Zaman Park residence, adding that he cannot forgive the people who are responsible for party worker Zille Shah’s death.

The PTI chairman said he had held a meeting alongside President Arif Alvi with General (retd) Qamar Javed Bajwa in which the former army chief had said if PTI wants elections, Imran should dissolve the provincial assemblies.

He added that he dissolved the provincial assemblies of Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) on the advice of then chief of army staff (COAS) General Bajwa.

The former prime minister further termed Bajwa a “liar”, adding that he had begun lobbying in the United States against his party.

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