National Assembly will be dissolved if...

May 19, 2022

An informed source said that either you will hear an announcement of a rise in oil prices or the National Assembly will be dissolved

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The National Assembly's inside view. Photo: The News/File

ISLAMABAD: If the Shehbaz Sharif government does not get the required assurance from the relevant quarters for its survival till August 2023, the National Assembly will be dissolved.

An informed source told The News here on Wednesday that the next two days are crucial in this regard. “Either you will hear an announcement of a rise in oil prices or the National Assembly will be dissolved,” the source said.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, in consultation with his allies on Tuesday night, decided that the present government would like to continue and meet the challenges of the economy provided it was assured of the required support by the relevant quarters.

The source said that the challenges of the economy provided it was assured of the required support by the relevant quarters.

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The source said that the allies were of the view that without the required assurance, the government could not take the risk of increasing the oil prices and withdrawing the huge subsidy given by the Imran Khan government in its last days. In case elections are held in October this year, the present government would only be paying the political price for various difficult decisions without getting the chance to repair the economy and serve the masses.

Nawaz Sharif, Asif Ali Zardari and Maulana Fazlur Rehman — the three top leaders of the ruling coalition parties — are not inclined to increase the oil price. They are of the view that such a move would increase the sufferings of the masses because of the ensuing price hike.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif is confident of meeting the economic challenges and passing on the minimum possible burden on to the masses. However, he agreed with the three leaders that without the required certainty about the tenure of his government, no administration could deliver.

The premier was told during Tuesday’s discussions by the leaders of the allied parties that he should convene a meeting of the National Security Committee and invite the stakeholders to get the required assurance from the committee, which also has representation of the defence services chiefs and top security officials, including the DG ISI. It was also discussed in the same meeting that the subsidy on oil prices would only be withdrawn if the National Security Committee unanimously guarantees the government’s survival till August 2023.

In case of elections in October 2022, the present government would only continue till July as the National Assembly has to be dissolved to hold elections in October. In such a scenario, the Shehbaz Sharif government would be left with only the option of taking difficult decisions without getting the opportunity to deliver and serve the masses.

While politics in Pakistan are currently extremely divisive, the situation has also badly affected the country’s economy, which is in dire need of IMF support without which, most economists fear, the country could face a default. Because of the political uncertainty, Islamabad could not get the crucial nod from the IMF, which had put on hold its programme for Pakistan because of the Imran Khan government’s decision to provide the huge oil subsidy.

The present government entered negotiations with the IMF, which pressed the Shehbaz Sharif government to withdraw the oil subsidy in order to resurrect the derailed programme. Shehbaz also visited Saudi Arabia and the UAE, but it is said that these friendly countries and even China only agreed to assist Pakistan to meet its economic challenges if the IMF revives its programme.



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