Article 6 to be applied to anyone who tries to delay polls: Fawad

Pakistan’s senior vice president, Fawad Chaudhry, said on Thursday that if Pakistan does not vote within 90 days after the assemblies are dissolved, it would be a violation of the Constitution – which will be suspended because of that violation.

In his first press conference a day after being granted bail in Islamabad, the former information minister said on Thursday that “if any administration or authority tries to postpone the elections in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa beyond the 90-day period which the Constitution allows. Article 6 of the Constitution will apply to them.”

According to the law, “unconstitutional means are guilty of high treason.”

During the presser, he also addressed the charge leveled against the previous PTI government of “aiding and abetting terrorism” in the country through lax policies and leniency – the rhetoric raised by the ruling Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) leadership. Fawad said, “Try to shift the blame to PTI, however, we had defeated terrorism. During the years that PTI was in power, Imran Khan handled the issues of Afghanistan and the United States in a proper manner.” There has been no explosion in Pakistan in our time, he insisted.

He further clarified that PTI’s policy was to try to curb hatred and said, “Imran Khan’s stand was that political problems cannot be solved by military force.”

The former federal minister went on to say that the current leadership in Afghanistan respects Khan, “but the attitude of the federal government” had destroyed the PTI chief’s Afghan policy. “You cannot solve the TTP issue without the support of the Afghan leadership,” Fawad further said. “Using force will make things more complicated.”

Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, he said, has made 17 visits to the US but has never visited Afghanistan.

Attacking the current government, Fawad also said that “its policy is unclear and it has no idea about what the situation in Afghanistan actually is.” “When we were in power, it was touted that Pakistan was going from terrorism to tourism, and we even revived international cricket in the country. In just nine months, our efforts have been destroyed.”

He also said that institutions should not support “corrupt” people. “Don’t carry his burden [Asif Ali] Zardari, Nawaz Sharif and Fazl Ur Rehman so much that your back doubles with the heaviest weight.” The PTI vice-chairman also said that the institutions should try to solve the many problems of the country instead of making arrests. “First they arrested Azam Swati, then Shehbaz Gill and then me. Now they have accused Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s daughter Shandana Gulzar of treason.” She was detained in a sedition case filed over her controversial comments on a TV show.

“This is all part of an effort to destabilize Pakistan,” he said, adding, “They [government] they are struggling to succeed both the country and Imran Khan and are failing miserably at both.”

While pointing the finger at the caretaker government in two provinces, he insisted that “dummy governments” had been set up in Punjab and KP.

Governors in the two provinces seemed to be on an untapped power trip, he added. “However, if we criticize them or anyone for that matter, we will be called traitors. By that definition, the whole country is full of traitors.” Speaking on the occasion, Hammad Azhar – who served during the PTI regime as federal minister of economic affairs – criticized the coalition government for its economic policies as a delegation of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is in Pakistan for discussions on technical and political level to revive the $7 billion expanded facility that has been stalled for months.

“The economy does not work without stability,” Azhar said, adding, “The rupee has fallen from 80 to 90 rupees in nine months. This will have a negative impact on the country.” He also said that inflation in the country will reach 40%. “Only if a general election is held to bring a democratically elected government to power, then the economic woes of the country must be considered.”