Govt rejects demands for Snap Polls

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ISAMABAD: As the PTI is all set to march on Islamabad on Wednesday (May 25), the PML-N government and its allies have decided that the current setup will complete its tenure till August 2023 and the general elections would be held at the stipulated time next year.
Agencies reported on Monday that following flurry of meetings, the coalition partners rejected the demand for early elections and decided to take tough measures to stabilise the economy and improve governance.
Amid facing louder calls to dissolve assemblies and announce snap polls, the allies expressed the resolve that they would not yield to any pressure.
The development comes a day after PTI Chairman and former premier Imran Khan announced that his party would kick off its much-hyped long march against the “imported government” to the federal capital on May 25 to force it to call early elections.
The insiders said the allies were of the view that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) had already announced a date for the next elections hence it is not possible to hold polls early.
The sources added that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif will chair an important meeting of the coalition parties on Wednesday in which the future course of action regarding the next general elections would be announced.
The allies have also decided that PTI’s long march will be handled in a democratic way and they will not be allowed to hold a rally on Srinagar Highway in Islamabad.
Instead, the PTI will be provided with a ground to hold a rally or stage sit-in as an alternate to Srinagar Highway, the sources added.
The coalition government hinted on Saturday that it was ready to walk away from power and take its case to the people if not allowed to freely rule the country and complete the remaining constitutional term.
The threat to leave the government came from Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah against the backdrop of an ongoing stalemate between the PML-N-led coalition government and the powerful stakeholders of the country.
“If we are stopped from working, our hands and feet are tied and reservations are expressed on our performance then those responsible should take the burden. Why should we take the responsibility when we are not responsible for destroying the economy,” the interior minister said, adding “We would approach the masses after discussing with the [government] allies”.
Sanaullah also warned Imran against creating a law and order problem in the federal capital during the planned long march, saying the law will take its course against those doing so.
“Law will take its course against Imran Niazi if he attempts to be the gravedigger of democracy during the march,” he said.
Mocking the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman, the federal minister said he who destroyed the country’s economy is now taking to the streets to put a halt to its recovery.
Sanaullah, who is also a senior leader of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N, vowed to not let such “efforts” succeed, saying that no mob acts or hooliganism would be tolerated during the planned political activity. – Agencies