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ISLAMABAD: As the country is gearing up for a tense political battle with the ousted prime minister Imran Khan constantly pressing for immediate elections, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Khawaja Asif on Monday also called for early elections, saying a fresh mandate from people is needed to negate the allegation of “traitors” used by ex-premier against his political opponents.

Speaking on a point of order in the National Assembly, he called upon the government to go for general elections in the country as soon as possible, as all are as patriotic as anybody else.

“The way the country was run in the last three and a half years is pathetic and still the nation is being pushed towards anarchy. By showing a fake letter [threat letter], people are being instigated…the irony is that now we have to get the patriotism certificate from Imran Khan,” he regretted.

He continued that in his personal opinion, the need of the hour is that “we should go to the people to get a new mandate as soon as possible”.

He maintained that the coalition government of the PML-N is confronted with the mammoth task of overcoming the skyrocketing challenge of inflation, coupled with other issues for which, peace and time is needed.

He said that the coalition government which comprises leaders from all over the country and is well aware of the issues faced by the masses especially the people of Balochistan.

The statement to go for early elections from Asif, a senior PML-N leader comes a day after Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) president and chief of his own faction of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) Maulana Fazlur Rehman called for holding fresh elections in the country after allegedly being deprived of his share of the ministries and other key slots in the newly-formed coalition government of Shehbaz Sharif.

The National Assembly which resumed its session with the newly-elected Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf in the chair, also adopted the motion expressing gratitude to the president of Pakistan for his address to both houses on 13th September last year.

Taking the floor, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leader Syeda Nafeesa Shah said that the PTI members have tendered resignations, stressing it should be “our effort to bring them back to the house”.

She emphasised the need for reducing political tension in the country to take matters towards improvement, adding a plan should be formulated to effectively deal with the economic issues.

Mufti Abdul Shakoor Khan of the JUI-F said that steps should be taken to improve the situation in the erstwhile tribal districts where the masses are facing myriad issues.

Noor Alam Khan, a dissident PTI MNA said that the people are faced with power outages during Sehri and Iftar time, for which the government should take immediate steps.

Qadir Khan Mandokhel said that culprits involved in ransacking and attacking the Sindh House should be brought to justice to uphold rule of law in the country.

Salahuddin Ayubi said that a new motorway from Chaman to Karachi and Punjab should be built to provide modern means of communication to the people of Balochistan.

Mehnaz Akbar Aziz expressed concerns on the growing polarisation in the country, saying “youth of the country is exploited under a well thought-out conspiracy to stoke hatred in the society”.

She said the women caucus of the parliament should be revived besides taking concrete measures to bring an end to the polarisation of the society, which if not stopped, may prove to be quite dangerous.

Rubina Irfan said the practice to accuse rivals as “traitors” should be stopped as all the political parties in the country are as patriotic as anybody else.

She said that Balochistan’s voice should be given due importance in policy making and other important matters of Pakistan.

She demanded special focus to improve the education and health sectors of Balochistan.

Noorul Hassan Tanvir said Prime Minister Shehbaz, during his tenure as the chief minister of Punjab, had earned a reputation of “Punjab Speed” for undertaking and completing development projects in record time.

He expressed optimism that now this process would be taken forward at “Pakistan Speed,” under Prime Minister Shehbaz.

Muhammad Moeen Wattoo expressed the hope that Prime Minister Shehbaz is capable enough to overcome the economic challenges, and other issues confronting the country.

Nasiba Channa said that shortage of gas and electricity has added to people’s problems and the government should pay attention to reduce public’s sufferings. She said two weekly off days should be restored.

Mohsin Ranjha questioned how strange it is that President, who is bound to act upon the advice of the prime minister, but is not ready to listen to what the chief executive says.

Mehmood Bashir Virk, Sikandar Ali Rahoupoto, Shamim Ara Panhwar, Zulfiqar Bachani and others also spoke.

The Chair announced the schedule of the election for the office of the deputy speaker National Assembly.

According to the schedule, nomination papers can be filed till 12 noon (Tuesday), while polling for the office of the NA deputy speaker will be held on Wednesday.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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