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‘No polls in next 4 months’: CM Punjab plays down Imran Khan’s threats

Chief Minister Punjab Chaudhry Pervez Elahi speaks during an interview with a private news channel in Lahore on December 5, 2022. — YouTube screengrab via HumNewsLive

Chief Minister Punjab Chaudhry Pervez Elahi has said he does not see elections taking place in the next four months, contrary to former prime minister and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan’s constant warnings of dissolving Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa assemblies.

“Elections cannot be held before four months; the federal and provincial governments need time to work and the elections may be delayed even after October next year,” Elahi said in an interview with a private news channel Monday.

CM Elahi’s statement contradicts Imran Khan’s claims regarding full backing from the CM Punjab and comes after the PTI chief had shared his willingness to halt the dissolution of the Punjab and KP assemblies if the coalition government agrees to conduct elections by the end of March next year.

“If they are ready for elections by the end of March, then we won’t dissolve the assemblies. Otherwise, we want to conduct polls by dissolving the KP and Punjab assemblies,” Khan said in an interview with a private news channel.

He added that his party won’t agree on a date after March and assemblies will be dissolved this month [December] if the government disagrees.

Meanwhile, earlier today, PTI Senior Vice President Fawad Chaudhry also said that Imran Khan has advised all party lawmakers to go back to their constituencies and prepare for elections in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

‘Gen Bajwa asked us to support Khan’

In today’s interview, CM Elahi also reiterated that former chief of army staff (COAS) General (retd) Qamar Javed Bajwa had asked the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) to side with the PTI.

“General Bajwa sahib asked us to support Khan. God changed our paths which were headed to the PML-N (Pakistan Mulsim League-Nawaz) and sent General Bajwa to show us the way,” he said.

He added that the ex-COAS did not call PML-Q stalwart Chaudhry Shujaat.

The chief minister refuted Khan’s claim that the former army chief had asked a group of the party to side with the PTI and the other to support PML-N.

“I had called General Bajwa myself. The institution told me that it was better for me to side with Khan,” the chief minister aded.

Last week, for the first time since spending three and a half years with Gen Bajwa, the PTI chief said: “Giving an extension to him [Gen Bajwa] was my biggest mistake.”

“I would trust whatever ex-COAS General Bajwa said. I would tell him that both of us are [thinking about] the country; our purpose is one — to save the country,” Khan added.

The former prime minister added that he didn’t know how he was being lied to and betrayed.

“I knew during the last days and also received a report from the Intelligence Bureau about a game being played,” Khan said, adding that his informant from the IB would notify him verbally and not in writing.

Accusing the ex-army chief of betrayal, Khan said that whenever he asked Bajwa about the conspiracy, he replied that they want continuity.

The former prime minister said that he complained to Bajwa that “his allies are hinting that the army was forcing them to change their loyalty and you are saying that forces are neutral”.

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