Ahead of make-or-break talks, Sanaullah says elections on May 14 ‘impossible’

Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah addresses a press conference at Pakistan Information Department in Islamabad on October 17, 2022. — APP/File
  • Sanaullah yet again rejects PTI’s demand to hold polls on May 14.
  • “All assemblies should be allowed to complete constitutional term.”
  • “Govt and country will suffer if last chance is wasted,” warns Umar.

As the ruling alliance and opposition Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) are all set to hold make-or-break talks on the timing of general elections today, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah has once again reiterated that holding polls on May 14 is not possible.

PTI Chairman Imran Khan has linked the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM)-led government demand to hold elections across the country simultaneously with the dissolution of all legislatures including the National Assembly before May 14.

Referring to the PTI chief’s demand, Sanaullah said all assemblies should be allowed to complete their constitutional term and added that negotiations are not held with conditions attached.

Speaking on Geo News programme “Geo Pakistan”, the interior minister said that Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo Nawaz Sharif allowed the party to hold talks with PTI despite reservations.

During the talks with PTI, the security czar said the PDM’s negotiating team proposed that the agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) should be finalised and the incumbent set-up be allowed to present the upcoming federal budget instead of caretaker setup before going into the elections.

“If these two demands are accepted, then what is the need to dissolve the assemblies just a few weeks before their term,” he remarked.

On the other hand, PTI leader Asad Umar warned that the country and allied parties of the coalition government will suffer “if the last chance to dissolve the assemblies is wasted”.

Umar also urged the coalition government to accept the PTI’s demands regarding dissolving assemblies before May 14 and submit the government’s consent to the demands in writing to the Supreme Court to pave the way for elections in the country.

Earlier today, PTI’s Vice Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that despite being “hopeless” he “will sit at the negotiation table with good intentions” with the PDM team.

The former foreign minister also accused Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif of trying to “sabotage” the talks on the date of the election, claiming that it was the PTI which was showing flexibility.

The third round of talks is scheduled at 9pm today, and the government has already termed Khan’s demand for the dissolution of the assembly by May 14 “impractical”, while the PTI has not shown flexibility in this regard.

The talks are being held to end an impasse over the timing of general elections across the country, which has fuelled political tensions, with the Supreme Court also urging the political forces to negotiate and find out a solution to the prevailing political turmoil.

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