EVMs won’t be used in polls: Sanaullah

Murtaza Ali Shah
Saturday, May 14, 2022

LONDON: Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah has said the next elections will not take place through electronic voting machines (EVMs), but measures will be taken to give representation to overseas Pakistanis.

“We will abolish EVMs idea,” he said while speaking to Pakistani media here late on Thursday after a PML-N delegation led by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif held talks with party supremo Nawaz Sharif for two days. The meeting decided that the “dirt” and “corruption” left behind by the PTI government should be brought before the nation, the minister said. Accompanied by Ahsan Iqbal and Marriyum Aurangzeb, Sanaullah briefed the media about some decisions taken at the meeting. The interior minister welcomed Pakistan Army spokesman’s statement that the military had decided to stay away from all political matters and that it should not be dragged into politics by any means.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, federal ministers Ahsan Iqbal, Rana Sanaullah, Khwaja Asif, Miftah Ismail, Marriyum Aurangzeb, Khwaja Saad Rafique, Ayaz Sadiq and Atta Tarar held talks with Nawaz Sharif for over four hours at Hasan Nawaz Sharif’s office. Shehbaz Sharif arrived for the talks, accompanied by a large security protocol, provided by the British government.

Sanaullah said the PML-N welcomed ISPR Director General Major General Babar Iftikhar’s statement that Pakistan Army was would stand by its constitutional role and no attempt should be made to drag it into politics by any political party. Sanaullah said what the DG ISPR said was vindication of Nawaz Sharif’s stance that all institutions should stay out of political matters and play their constitutional role only.

Sanaullah said it had been decided that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s planned dharna (sit-in) in Islamabad would be “dealt with an iron hand”, adding there would be zero tolerance for violence, and if anyone tried to provoke unrest, they would not be spared.

When asked if former premier Imran Khan would be arrested, the interior minister said there would be no arbitrary arrest, but anyone found involved in illegal activities would be dealt with strictly under the law.

He said the PML-N leadership discussed PTI’s planned march on Islamabad. “Nawaz Sharif has guided us on the plan of action but since we are in a coalition, we will place all suggestions before our partners for a joint decision. Forget about two million people, Imran Khan will be unable to bring 20,000 people and that if we don’t allow, he will not be able to bring out 20 people.”

Sanaullah said it had been decided that the “dirt” and “corruption” left behind by the PTI government should be brought before the nation. On the next elections, Sanaullah said the decision was in the hands of coalition partners and “if allies want us to go for early elections, then we will do that”.

The meeting took stock of the mess Imran Khan has left behind by destroying the economy and social fabric of society and he is misleading the nation, said Sanaullah adding: “Nawaz Sharif has provided us guidelines and educated us” on how to move forward.

Ahsan Iqbal said the basic purpose of the visit was to take stock of the existing situation of the country and seek guidance from Nawaz Sharif as “he is the most senior statesman of Pakistan and we wanted to consult him so that in coming days the government could steer the country out of crises on a fast pace. Pakistan’s economy is in a really bad shape and the PTI has left it in a complete mess.

“The national leadership will have to steer the country out of this crisis. This is a coalition government and all its decisions should be through mutual discussions and understanding. “We will take our partners in confidence on everything that we discussed with Nawaz Sharif. The national leadership will play its role to bring the country out of crises”.

Iqbal said Imran Khan is “an enemy of the country” and he is targeting Pakistan’s Constitution and Pakistani institutions. “He (Imran Khan) lies all days and has been involved in violation of the constitution; we will not tolerate it because Pakistan belongs to us all.

“Imran Khan has lost his mind and he wants to destroy institutions by running a vilification campaign against the Constitution. He says he is running a campaign for freedom but he had surrendered before the IMF and sold out the State Bank of Pakistan. He has claimed that he never asked anyone for aid, but he has asked for donations all his life”.