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Monday, May 20, 2024  
11 Dhul-Qadah 1445  

Punjab election won’t be held on May 14 come what may: Sanaullah

Interior minister claims establishment wants to rectify its mistake
Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah media talk in Faisalabad - Aaj News

Election to the Punjab Assembly would not be held on May 14—a date fixed by the Supreme Court— come what may, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah said on Sunday.

“Elections will be held simultaneously this year under the caretaker setup,” he told reporters after an iftar hosted by the PML-N in Faisalabad.

According to the top court’s April 4 order, the election to the Punjab Assembly should be held on May 14. The SC had given the decision after nullifying the Election Commission of Pakistan’s earlier order to delay it to October 8 from April 30.

The court had directed the federal government to issue Rs21 billion to the ECP by April 10. But the ruling alliance has failed to release the amount amid the “economic situation”, prompting the SC to order the State Bank of Pakistan to release Rs21 billion by Monday (tomorrow) from the Federal Consolidated Fund for holding much-delayed elections to the provincial assemblies of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The interior minister quoted the establishment as saying that they wanted to “correct the wrong” they did in the past. He was apparently referring to the general elections of 2018, which the coalition government and PPP allege that rigged to bring PTI to power.

Sanaullah is seen in the party’s campaign led by Maryam Nawaz, who in her new role as “senior vice president” is tasked with reorganizing the party. He told his supporters to continue their preparations as October was not far.

He alleged that PTI chief Imran Khan and his team were imposed on the country under propaganda. The interior minister accused the former government of bringing “such policies” that led the country to a crisis situation.

“Just as a general controlled the country for 12 years after becoming a nuclear power… this time the general himself did not come, however, they brought out this fitna [Imran Khan] and imposed this shameless group on this country,” he added.

Without naming Khan, Sanaullah questioned what services the former prime minister has provided in his constituency.

“If the agencies were not with them and if the establishment was not with him [Imran Khan] then they could not have taken over. Now the establishment has also turned a deaf ear. They also say that such a lying man… that now we want to correct the mistake we had made by helping him,” he said.

He reiterated that the PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif would return to Pakistan when the election would be near. Sharif would lead the election campaign, he added.

Sharif, along with his family, is in Saudi Arabia where he performed Umrah.

In reaction to the statement, PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry said that the interior minister was intimidating the apex court while giving an impression that they and the establishment were “the same”.

“This is contempt of court,” he said and added that the government has to make an enabling environment for talks. He was speaking about his party leader Ali Zaidi’s arrest by the police on Saturday.

PTI’s Hasaan Khawar lamented that the interior minister gave such statements. “Pakistan is neither Jati Umrah nor the 220 people are workers of Ittefaq Foundry,” he said and warned Sanaullah that politics and democracy would have to pay a huge price for the war they are trying to start.

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Supreme Court

Rana Sanaullah

rana sanaullah press conference

Punjab Elections