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ISLAMABAD: The government on Thursday urged the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to immediately announce its reserved verdict in the foreign funding case against the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief, Imran Khan.

“Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and its allied parties have expressed serious concerns over the delay in announcement of the verdict in foreign funding case and urged the ECP to announce the decision”, said Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah while addressing a press conference.

He said that it is beyond his understanding that what is now stopping the commission from deciding the fate of the case when it has already reserved its decision after holding hearings for eight years.

The minister said that it has been proved in the foreign funding case that 350 foreign companies and individuals have funded US 750 million dollars to accounts of the PTI’s four employees. The companies and individuals belong to India and Israel, he said, adding that the case is pending for the last eight years and the PTI had filed nine petitions to delay the case.

He said that those who received foreign funding should be arrested immediately. When he was asked whether the government would stage a protest outside the ECP if the commission failed to announce the verdict, he said that we did not want to stage a protest outside the commission but we want the reserved decision announced.

To a question about general elections, he said that earlier this “mad man” was demanding immediate general elections and last night he stated that first new chief Election Commissioner (CEC) should be appointed then the general elections should be held. CEC Sultan Sikandar Raja had been appointed by Imran Khan, he said, adding that there is a proper procedure for the removal of the CEC.

He asked Khan if he had any concrete evidence against the CEC then he should approach the Supreme Judicial Council for the removal of the CEC.

Sanaulllah said that the PTI chief is demanding of the government to announce election, but why he is not dissolving the two provincial assemblies where he has his governments. If he truly wants elections in the country, then he should dissolve the assemblies in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) it would pave the way for it since by-elections at such massive scale would not be possible, he said, adding that his personal opinion is that if Khan dissolves Punjab and KP assemblies then there would be no by-polls and there would be general elections. This move, he added, would automatically steer the country towards fresh polls as by-elections will not be possible on so many seats, he said.

He further said that PML-N supreme Nawaz Sharif always stressed for an early election but he decided not to hold elections due to some political constraints.

To a question about the Model Town case, he said that the courts – from the trial court to the Supreme Court – have already exonerated him in the case.

He said that the PTI-PML(Q) government in Punjab would survive for one month if they form a cabinet consisting of 186 ministers or else its future is quite bleak as the government is standing on a lead of just seven votes.

Responding to a query regarding the rise in dollar rates, he said that the main reason behind the increase in dollar rate is the delay in agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the political destabilization in the country. He said that the PML-N accepted the government when the country was on the brink of default.

Responding to a question about the arrest of the PTI leaders, he said that the government has no power to arrest anyone and the power to arrest any person is only with the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), and the anti-corruption department.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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