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Ruling Pakistan Muslim League-N considering early polls

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Lahore, May 20 (PTI) Pakistan’s deposed premier and supreme leader of ruling PML-N Nawaz Sharif has suggested his party should call for early elections as it was getting increasingly difficult to steer the country out of economic troubles and simultaneously manage the nine-party coalition government.

Nawaz’s daughter and Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) vice-president Maryam Nawaz elaborated on some of her fathers thoughts at a rally here on Thursday.

“Nawaz Sharif is ready to say goodbye to the government but not pass on the economic burden to the people of Pakistan. There is no point in carrying the ‘weight of blunders’ of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan and better go to the masses to seek a fresh mandate,” Maryam said.

Maryam, however, said early elections could exacerbate the current economic crisis in the event of an early election, which the PML-N supporters would not appreciate.

Cash-strapped Pakistan is passing through a phase of political and economic turmoil after former premier Imran Khan was removed from office through a trust-vote last month. Khan has demanded early federal elections and has launched mega-protest rallies across the country.

The newly-formed Shehbaz Sharif government is saddled with an economy which is still recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic and is dealing with spiked global prices of essential goods due to the Russia-Ukraine war and other such conflicts.

Pakistan’s currency, current account deficit and trade deficit numbers are in red because of huge debt payments. Pakistan’s foreign exchange reserves have dwindled to USD 7.5 billion.

“My father is ready to quit the government but not willing to make the masses suffer economically. The (Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif-led) government should say goodbye to the government and go to the masses,” she said.

Shehbaz Sharif is the younger brother of Nawaz Sharif, who is currently in London for medical treatment after he was allowed by the previous government of Khan.

She said the PML-N chose to oust Imran Khan through a no-confidence motion as the PTI government planned to return to power by rigging the 2023 election.

“We failed Khan’s plan and sent him home. Now his game is over for good,” Maryam said, appealing to the people to give a two-thirds majority to her party in the next general election.

The PML-N appears to be indecisive over the issue of elections. Some senior party leaders are convinced the National Assembly’s tenure till August 2023 may cost the country economically and dampen their voters’ morale.

Among those who have spoken their minds in favour of early polls are Maryam Nawaz, former finance minister Ishaq Dar, federal ministers Ahsan Iqbal, Saad Rafiqque and Khawaja Asif – all have accused Imran Khan of economic and governance mismanagement.

The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), a key ally of the ruling coalition, has issued a strong warning against any unilateral decision by the PML-N regarding fresh elections.

The PPP says the coalition can sail through the crises without incurring any political damage to any party, and go for elections only after completing the remaining tenure, during which they can carry out certain electoral and accountability reforms. PTI MZ IND AKJ IND

This report is auto-generated from PTI news service. ThePrint holds no responsibility for its content.

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