Govt ‘prepared’ to battle PTI on dissolution of assemblies

Zardari says ready for elections, as PML-Q offers counsel of patience

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) seem to be pulling teeth as it tries to convince the party’s parliamentarians and allies to dissolve assemblies in two provinces and force fresh elections as the government coalition lines up all of its options.

On Thursday, the government dug in and reiterated that they do not want the assemblies to be dissolved and will adopt a legal pathway to maintain the assemblies, even wrest control.

But in the event the assemblies are dissolved – admitting that it could face failure on that end – they were ready to compete in by-elections for both Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Punjab.

First, in a press conference on Thursday afternoon, Federal Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah reiterated that the government does not want the provincial assemblies to be dissolved.

“We will try that they remain unsuccessful in dissolving the assemblies,” he said.

However, if they are dissolved, Sanaullah said that the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) coalition parties would contest the ensuing polls.

“We will not give into blackmailing,” he said.

This was echoed by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Attaullah Tarar, who said they were prepared to fight this legal battle with PTI.

“If they (PTI and Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid coalition) do not stop [in dissolving the assemblies], we are ready to contest elections,” he said.

“PML-Q’s options are shrinking, ours are increasing,” he said.

He added that they are already sitting on the opposition benches in Punjab and KP, so dissolving the assemblies would have little impact on them.

Convince ‘misled’ friends

Meanwhile, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari, who has been tasked by the PDM coalition to play political roulette and help the government out of this quagmire, said that there were various options they are looking to use.

“If they break the assemblies, we will contest the elections; if they do not, we will continue on opposition benches,” he said in an interview with a private television channel on Thursday.

“We will bring a vote of no-confidence in Punjab and KP,” he suggested.

Asked how the PDM can succeed in KP where the PTI enjoys a sizable majority, Zardari cryptically said that there exist “some friends” who have been misled in the KP assembly.

“We will convince them and bring them back,” he said.

PTI

PDM

Punjab Assembly Dissolution

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