Imran Khan, Chairman of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), warned the coalition government on Wednesday of retaliation if the Supreme Court-ordered elections in Punjab were not held on time.
“Today, I am warning the entire country to brace itself. Prepare yourself. If we do not participate in the elections, history will not forgive us “Khan told his supporters via video link as the party observed ‘Youm-e-Tashakkur,’ or ‘thanksgiving,’ to commemorate the Supreme Court’s decision to hold elections in Punjab.
The Supreme Court’s three-member bench unanimously declared the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) order to postpone the election in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa “unconstitutional.”
The three-member bench, led by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial and comprised of Justice Munib Akhtar and Justice Ijaz Ul Ahsan, also directed the electoral body to hold a provincial election on May 14.
The ECP postponed the Punjab election to October 8 originally scheduled for April 30 citing a resurgence of terror attacks, a shortage of security personnel, and an unprecedented economic crisis.
Following the order, the election commission announced the election date as May 14, with the stalled polling process set to resume on April 10.
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and the federal cabinet have unanimously rejected the verdict and plan to present a resolution in parliament opposing it.
PM Shehbaz told a meeting of coalition party leaders in Islamabad earlier today that the fate of the nation was being decided by strange decisions.
Such treatment of the Constitution and the law, he said, had never been seen before, and “such a terrible scene has never met [his] eyes.”
However, Khan, who was deposed as prime minister in April of last year, believes that the coalition partners are “running away” from elections because their defeat is imminent “and they are well aware of it.”
For leading the country out of the economic crisis, the former prime minister reiterated his rhetoric about holding influential people accountable.
“The most significant reform would be to subject powerful people to the rule of law. Once the rule of law is established, the investment will flood into Pakistan “According to PTI chief.
Khan, who has emphasized engaging Pakistanis living abroad, has stated that if overseas Pakistanis are assured that their investments will be safe, they will begin investing, thereby resolving the country’s dollar crisis.
The South Asian country is experiencing one of its most difficult economic crises, grappling with external debts, historically high inflation, and sluggish growth prospects, among other issues.
Currently, the State Bank of Pakistan’s foreign exchange reserves are insufficient to cover less than a month’s imports, and the rupee is at an all-time low of Rs287.85 per dollar.