ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan on Saturday announced the dissolving of the assemblies of the provinces where they rule -- Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab - on December 23, reported The News International. Imran made the announcement in a video address with Punjab Chief Minister Parvez Elahi and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Mahmood Khan by his side.
He said, "I will sacrifice my government in the country till the elections are held. We are all afraid that the country is sinking. I live and die in Pakistan. " The PTI chief reiterated his demand for free and fair elections, warning the country might sink otherwise.
"Once we dissolve both the assemblies, we will hold elections in the provinces. Also, our 123-125 National Assembly members -- whose resignations have not been accepted -- will ask the speaker inside the assembly to accept their resignations," he said.
Elaborating on the PTI's plan of action after dissolving the assemblies, Imran said, "Then we will prepare for elections after that and our around 130 seats in the National Assembly, we will go to the NA speaker and demand him to accept our resignations instead of picking a few." Imran told the nation to refrain from being disappointed, saying it was akin to "running away from our duty to society," reported Dawn.
He said a "lesson should be taught through elections" to the government and deal it "such a defeat that the names of these thieves are wiped out forever".
He said the country would "stand up" when "tough decisions" would be taken, not about increases in prices, but, "restructuring institutions and establishing justice in the country".
Imran started his address by bemoaning the current economic situation of the country and contrasted that with his government's performance. Imran said a government with a fresh mandate and the nation's support behind it would be able to raise its stature, reported Dawn.
At the outset of his address, Imran said the country needed "fresh and fair elections as we fear the country is drowning."
He lamented the brain drain in the country, saying that skilled people and professionals were leaving the country in droves, reported Dawn. "My question today is, who was responsible for this regime change?" he said, referring to his government's ouster via a no-confidence motion earlier this year.
Imran said unemployment and inflation were on the rise and foreign confidence in the country had eroded, leading to investments drying up. "Our loans are piling up. There was only one way to solve this which we did: to increase the country's wealth. They (the government) don't have a plan."
He also blamed former chief of army staff General (retd) Qamar Javed Bajwa for being involved in the "conspiracy" hatched against his party, reported The News International.
"Ex-COAS Gen Bajwa is the only person responsible for bringing down the PTI government," the former prime minister claimed during his address. The PTI chief said that for the first time in his life, he "fears" that the "corrupt gang" imposed on the country was taking the nation towards destruction, reported The News International.
"You can ask any industrialist, labour, and farmer; their finances cannot be managed amid the ongoing economic situation," he added.
Shedding light on the record-high inflation -- which clocked in at 23.8 per cent in November -- he said that Pakistan witnessed 50-year high inflation after the incumbent government came into power. "They washed away all the hard work we did," he lamented.
Imran said free and fair elections were the only solution to the country's problems and said the government was "afraid" of new elections due to the fear of losing, reported Dawn. He expressed concern that the government might not hold general elections even in October 2023. Meanwhile, footage from Liberty Chowk today showed a large crowd of people gathered for Imran's address.
The movement towards Liberty Chowk began in earnest after Imran wrapped up an important meeting with the Punjab and KP CMs at his Zaman Park residence, reported Dawn.
The PTI is gearing up for provincial elections following the dissolution of the Punjab and KP assemblies -- which it says is necessary to bring "political stability" to the country.