Imran Khan’s party tries to dissolve regional assemblies in bid for power

Islamabad, Jan 13 (EFE).- The regional assembly of Punjab, Pakistan’s largest province, on Friday began a 48-hour notice period for getting dissolved as former prime minister Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) continued its protracted struggle to regain power.

Punjab Chief Minister Parvez Elahi on Thursday “sent the summary to dissolve the assembly to the governor of Punjab” Baligh Ur Rehman, PTI leader and Khan aide Fawad Chaudhry told EFE.

According to the Pakistani constitution, the governor – who represents the central government in the province – “has to act on it within 48 hours” or the assembly would be dissolved automatically, Chaudhry added.

Punjab is governed by Khan’s party in alliance with Elahi’s Pakistan Muslim League (Quaid e Azam group), and the government had won a vote of confidence in the assembly on Thursday to prove its majority .

The PTI is also expected to announce the dissolution of the legislature of the northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province – where it is in power on its own – on Saturday, Chaudhry said.

Moreover, it will write a letter to the leader of opposition in the Pakistan assembly for naming an intergim government to oversee elections in the state within 90 days.

The party is seeking to regain power ahead of upcoming general elections, set to be held in August, after in April 2022 Khan lost a no-confidence motion launched by an alliance of several parties, led by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz).

Khan has accused the military in taking part in a regime-change operation carried out by his opponents at the behest of the United States.

Since then, the former PM has repeatedly demanded early elections and in November led a long march to capital Islamabad from Punjab’s provincial capital Lahore.

The dissolution of assemblies – announced by Khan in November – comes after PTI lawmakers resigned from the parliament en-masse on the day Sharif was voted by their leader’s successor.

Apart from the institutional crisis, Pakistan is facing serious economic and security challenges.

The foreign currency reserve with the State Bank of Pakistan – the central bank – have fallen to a critically low level of $4.3 billion, enough to pay for just three weeks of imports. EFE


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