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Thursday, June 30 2022
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Pak govt may be forced into early elections - 4 min read

Islamabad: Pakistans political turmoil continues as the ouster of former Prime Minister Imran Khan that led to the formation of a coalition government of at least nine political parties under the premiership of Shehbaz Sharif, seems to be walking a very uncertain path and may be forced into early elections due to various factors that the current ruling setup may not be able to handle.

Prime Minister Sharif has found himself in a difficult spot as he struggles to have his coalition parties leadership and voices within his own political party, PML-N, on the same page in taking major a major decision of going into early elections and not taking responsibility of the current worsening economic crisis of the country, which he says is because of his predecessor.

As per reports, Shehbaz Sharif has been asked by his elder brother and former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to call for early elections in the country.

Nawaz Sharif, who is in London, has reportedly asked Shehbaz Sharif to not look towards completing tenure of the government and call for early elections, a message clearly being campaigned through his daughter and chairperson of PML-N Maryam Nawaz, who has been stating the demand for early elections in political rallies in various parts of the country.

On the other hand, the coalition partners of the ruling government including major political force of Pakistan People Party (PPP), have appealed Shehbaz Sharif to not go into early elections and gear up to take difficult, unpopular and bold economic decision to get the country out of the current economic crisis.

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The coalition government set-up has demanded Shehbaz Sharif to complete its tenure and do election reforms before going into elections.

Pakistan’s economic crisis with the rupee on a free fall against the US dollar, is banking on the ongoing negotiations with the IMF to not only revive and extend the $6 billion Extended Fund Facility (EFF) by at least two years but also to increase the sanctioned loan facility by $2 billion.

However, the situation on ground is grim as Pakistan has failed to comply with the strict terms and condition, it had agreed before during Khan’s tenure, making it very difficult for the current delegation of the Finance Ministry under Minister Miftah Ismail to convince them to give leverage and extension.

It is believed that the future of elections in Pakistan now banks on the outcome of the IMF dialogue being held in Doha. If the talks are successful, the government may be in a position to stabilize the currency rate and also bring stability, clarity and certainty to the financial market.

But if the dialogue fails, then the government may not take the burden of imposing price hikes and inflation in the country and would opt to go into early elections.

As government remains in an uncertain state, Khan has announced of staging massive public gatherings and is geared up to bring as he claims at least 3 million protesters to Islamabad on Wednesday.

The ousted premier has said that he along with his supporters will not leave the capital until date of early elections is announced and Assemblies are dissolved.

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Khan’s anti-government rallies have had a major impact on the standing of the current government as pressure is being inserted from all quarters to go into early elections in the country.

Khan holds another key as he may use his party members, including his coalition partner PML-Q to dissolve the Punjab Assembly as he maintains majority in Punjab , especially after the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) de-seated at least 25 member of the provincial Assembly, who defected from PTI and voted in favour of Hamza Shehbaz Sharif during the voting for the Chief Minister.

Speaker of the Punjab Assembly and candidate for Chief Minister Pervaiz Elahi has already stated that on Khan’s demand, he will immediately dissolve the Assembly and force the government into early elections.

The other way Khan may use if his demands are not met by the government is through mass resignations by his members from the Punjab Assembly and forcing the assembly to stand dissolved.

Pakistan is witnessing a major political and economic meltdown with no party ready to take responsibility to get the country out of the crises and demanding to have general elections called in with immediate affect.

The coming days will be really interesting as Khan will give sleepless nights to the ruling government as he plans to stage another massive protest sit-in in the capital Islamabad, paralysing major arteries connecting other cities to the capital.

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