Wednesday June 12, 2024

Nawaz Sharif wants early elections

Nawaz Sharif discusses with the senior party leadership the option of quitting government in Centre

By Murtaza Ali Shah
July 27, 2022
PML-N supremo and former prime minister Nawaz Sharif. -APP/File
PML-N supremo and former prime minister Nawaz Sharif. -APP/File

LONDON: Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) supremo Nawaz Sharif wants early general elections and has discussed with the senior party leadership the option of quitting the government in the Centre, credible sources have confirmed.

Nawaz Sharif has discussed this several times with top leaders of the party including Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and also with the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM). He suggested that staying in the government any longer looked set to create more problems than resolving the issues in the absence of genuine support the government should have received from all state organs, said sources.

They said PDM leaders, including Asif Ali Zardari and Maulana Fazlur Rehman, have so far resisted the idea of quitting the government but the Supreme Court’s decision to make Pervaiz Elahi Punjab’s Chief Minister is highly likely to reinforce the idea.

Sources shared that Nawaz Sharif has told his party leaders that obstacles had been created for Shehbaz Sharif’s government from the very start, after Imran Khan’s ouster in a vote of no-confidence, and staying in the government in the absence of powers could damage the party further.

These discussions have lingered on for several weeks but more so after the disappointing results for the PML-N in Punjab’s by-elections and the decision by a three-member Supreme Court bench, led by Chief Justice Atta Bandial and Justices Ijaz-ul-Ahsan and Muneeb Akhtar, to remove Hamza Shehbaz as Punjab’s chief minister. It had thrown up a completely new scenario for the PML-N where it has power in the Centre but in Punjab, the battleground province, will be now ruled by Pervaiz Elahi with help from Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).

Sources have confirmed that the likely date and time of October and November have been discussed at a great length and Nawaz Sharif, Shehbaz Sharif and the government stakeholders are aware about the nature of these discussions. These discussions, according to sources, have taken place between the government and the establishment figures as well but nothing was finalised.

The PML-N leadership, according to sources, toyed with the idea of holding early elections but stopped short of making a final decision in this regard, waiting for one event after another to pass by to make further assessments and evaluate.

During the discussions that have taken place, senior party cadres have discussed that Nawaz Sharif and PML-N don’t have a level-playing field even they are in power in the Centre and ruled Punjab in one way or the other for about three months till the elevation of Pervaiz Elahi.

The sources said that senior party leaders have discussed Nawaz Sharif’s return to Pakistan before the next general elections and a message has been conveyed to him that his presence in Pakistan was necessary.

PML-N leaders from Pakistan have sent reports to Nawaz Sharif, blaming the serious issues of inflation and worsening economic situation as the main factors behind the PML-N’s battering in the Punjab by-polls which have proven disastrous for the party.