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PM Shehbaz Sharif proposes simultaneous elections in October or November

Premier expresses dismay over Supreme Court decision and reiterates government’s stance on holding all provincial and National Assembly polls at once.

Shehbaz Sharif, the Pakistani prime minister, declared on Wednesday that he thought the country’s elections should be held in October or November.

The government has made it clear that it will work to have the National Assembly and provincial elections held simultaneously.

The Supreme Court’s decision to hold elections in Punjab on May 14 was met with disappointment by PM Sharif, who also announced that the Parliament would be asked to reconsider how to pay for the elections.

The opposition to piecemeal elections was shared by all coalition parties, the prime minister further noted.

PM Sharif acknowledged that the situation was still difficult despite the government’s constitutional efforts to address issues involving the Supreme Court.

He cited the Supreme Court’s desire to proceed with cases using a three-member bench, which had previously been rejected by parliament.

In addition, PM Sharif reiterated the government’s reading of the Supreme Court’s 4-3 decision on April 4.

He emphasised that it is both morally and politically necessary to respect the decisions made by parliament, and he opposed the idea of making the Supreme Court the final arbiter of disputes.

Their responsibility is to make decisions in accordance with the Constitution, he emphasised, not to act like a panchayat.

According to the Prime Minister, if an additional 90 days are added to the end of the current legislative session’s term, elections would take place in either November or October.

Notably, the Premier’s speech came just a few hours after an important meeting with coalition leaders.

Maulana Fazal ur Rehman, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, as well as other significant federal coalition figures and federal ministers, were present at the meeting.

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf “only exploited” rather than addressing the problems facing the nation, according to PM Sharif.

He chastised the party for telling their provincial finance minister to inform the IMF that they were unable to adhere to the lender’s requirements.

The Prime Minister also emphasised that Imran Khan’s politics had sown the seeds of acrimonious divisions in all spheres of Pakistani life and regretted the rhetoric directed specifically at the armed forces.

PM Sharif emphasised that “all matters are to be settled by the parliament and nobody else” despite his disagreements. There is “an overwhelming opinion that the doors for dialogue should be left open,” he continued, adding that he was prepared to abide by this.

He emphasised, however, that “what the format of the dialogue should be” was still up for debate. The Premier suggested that one strategy might be for the parliamentary committee and the speaker of the National Assembly to take on the duty of resolving political differences.

Written by Imad Khan

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