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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) senior leader Fawad Chaudhry said on Friday that the party is expecting Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial would decide this week about formation of a high-powered judicial commission to investigate the foreign conspiracy through which ex-prime minister Imran Khan’s government was ousted.

Speaking at a presser, he said that Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb, whom he dubbed “disinformation minister”, had accepted in her presser a day ago that the cypher – purportedly containing details of the conspiracy — was a reality.

“The imported government says it’s going to set up a commission of its choosing which the PTI has obviously rejected as its not acceptable to us except a high-powered judicial commission,” he added.

He continued that no other commission except a judicial commission will be acceptable to the PTI, adding “we are expecting that the chief justice will take a decision in this regard this week”.

He said that the incumbent government is hanging by a thread and the country’s biggest province was facing an administrative crisis but nobody is bothered about it or willing to take responsibility for what is going on in Punjab.

About the adjournment given by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) in a case pertaining to the disqualification of dissident PTI lawmakers till Tuesday, he called upon the chief election commissioner (CEC), Sikander Sultan Raja, not to take the issue as business as usual.

“He [the CEC] has adjourned the hearing [of dissident PTI lawmakers] till Tuesday which is not fair. He should take up the case tomorrow and end this matter in Punjab,” he said, while referring to the prevailing political situation in Punjab in wake of the recent swearing-in of Hamza Shehbaz as chief minister the Punjab.

Hamza is yet to announce his cabinet as Governor Punjab Omar Sarfraz Cheema has asked the army chief, Gen Qamar Bajwa, to take action against the “illegal, unconstitutional and fake” chief minister.

Chaudhry noted that the Supreme Court would resume hearing the presidential reference seeking its interpretation of Article 63-A, related to the disqualification of lawmakers over defection, on May 9 and termed it a very positive step.

He appealed to the apex court to announce a concrete decision, so it could be implemented.

“I believe the sooner these decisions are announced, the better it would be as there will be political stability in the country…I think, Punjab’s administrative crisis has risen above our shoulders and the Centre’s administrative crisis is also increasing,” he added.

“You need the consistent support of 172 people to remain the prime minister. According to the latest information I have, of the 173 [lawmakers supporting PM Shehbaz], three have refused to do so any further, so the strength at the moment is 168 or 169. A minority government has been imposed,” he added.

As soon as the Supreme Court announces its decision, the coalition government would have to hold a vote of confidence, Chaudhry said, claiming that it did not have the required support of 172 lawmakers.

The former information minister also predicted the end of Shehbaz Sharif-led government by May 20, saying three of the PML-N allies are parting ways.

“I’m sure the Punjab government will be sent home before May 12 and the federal government before May 20. The public’s rule will be restored in Pakistan. The people have to ultimately decide who will be in power and that will be done through elections,” he added.

Chaudhry also said that PTI Chairman Imran Khan would announce the final date for the party’s long march to Islamabad between May 20 and 29.

“All workers should get ready. A sea of people will be seen coming towards Islamabad. Such a big revolution has not been seen by anyone,” he added.

He said leaders of other parties had been questioning how long party workers would be able to sit out in the open in the searing heat, adding it remained to be seen whether it was the PTI workers who would sit outside or those who were currently parliamentarians.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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