Pakistan: Parliament summoned to decide PTI’s fate


ISLAMABAD: The parliament is to meet in a special joint session on Wednesday to “take important decisions” to enforce the state’s authority, the government said, a day after the military “agreed” with the government that elections to the national and provincial assemblies should be held simultaneously.

On Monday, through its declaration, Shehbaz Sharif’s government, backed by the powerful military, indicated its willingness to violate the Constitution by disregarding the Supreme Court’s ruling, which mandates the holding of elections in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa within 90 days in accordance with the Constitution.

Khan was prime minister from 2018 until 2022, when he was ousted from office in a contentious parliamentary vote. Since then, he has been demanding a new election and holding protests across the country to press his case.

His supporters have clashed with police several times over recent days as authorities try to force him to appear in court in connection with various cases brought against him.

The office of the speaker of parliament, in calling Wednesday’s joint session, did not give a reason but the state-run Associated Press of Pakistan said the ruling coalition had called for parliament to “take important decisions” to ensure the writ of the state was enforced.

The APP, reporting on a meeting attended by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and his cabinet, cited the participants as saying Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) was not a political party but “rather a gang of militants”, and its “enmity against the state” could not be tolerated.

Sharif has rejected Khan’s demand for a new election saying it would be held as scheduled later this year.

Parliament will meet in Islamabad, as Khan’s supporters gather for his latest rally in Lahore.

The clashes between Khan’s supporters and the security forces have brought a new round of political chaos to the country already in the midst of a crippling economic crisis.

Khan says the government and the military are trying to stop him from contesting the next election, scheduled for November. If convicted in a case, Khan could face disqualification from the polls.

Both the government and military deny this.

Police have arrested hundreds of Khan’s supporters in overnight raids in recent days in response to the clashes.__Pakistan Today