Islamabad- Pakistan’s major ruling coalition partners have agreed to dissolve the National Assembly on August 8, a few days before the completion of its five-year term, to get extra time for general elections, according to a media report on Tuesday.
The five-year constitutional term of the incumbent National Assembly expires on August 12 at midnight — four days after the date on which both parties have reportedly agreed to dissolve the legislature.
The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) — the two major stakeholders in the federal government — have agreed to dissolve the National Assembly on August 8, the Geo News reported.
August 9 and 10 also came under discussion, but it was decided to go for August 8 to avoid any hurdle in the early dissolution of the lower house of Parliament, the report said, quoting sources.
According to the law, if the president doesn’t approve the recommendation, the National Assembly stands dissolved after 48 hours — giving the government enough time to achieve its target of premature dissolution.
According to the Constitution, a general election to the National Assembly or a provincial assembly should be held within a period of 60 days immediately following the day on which the term of the Assembly is due to expire unless the Assembly has been dissolved sooner.
However, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) is bound to hold the general polls within 90 days if the Assembly is dissolved before its constitutional term. The PML-N party-led Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) alliance thinks that dissolving the National Assembly would be beneficial for it.
“Next month, our government will complete its tenure. We will leave before the completion of our tenure and an interim government will come,” Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said at an event recently.
The PPP led by Bilawal Zardari-Bhutto had earlier proposed that the National Assembly should be dissolved ahead of its constitutional term.
Meanwhile, Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb said the date of dissolution of the National Assembly has not been decided yet.
“The date (of dissolution) will be decided in consultation with the PDM and other allied parties. The decision on the date of dissolution of the National Assembly will be officially announced,” she wrote on her official Twitter handle.
Once the National Assembly is dissolved, the federal government will require a caretaker setup. Until the formation of a caretaker government, Sharif will continue his duties as the prime minister, albeit for a few days.
For the formation of a caretaker government, Sharif will write to the leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly, Raja Riaz, within 48 hours of the dissolution of the assembly, seeking three names for the caretaker prime minister and will suggest three names himself.
In case, an impasse between the two leaders lasts for three days on the name of the nominee, the National Assembly Speaker will form a committee comprising six members of the outgoing assembly with equal representation from the treasury and the opposition.
To the committee, the prime minister and the leader of the opposition will forward two nominees each.
The committee then will have three days to evolve consensus on one name. If that fails as well, then the names of the nominees will be referred to the Election Commission of Pakistan for a final decision within two days.
The selected nominee will perform the duties of the interim Prime Minister until the formation of a new government. The caretaker premier also has the power to induct cabinet members, the report said.
Sharif was sworn in as the Prime Minister in April last year after the then-premier Imran Khan was ousted through a no-confidence motion in the National Assembly.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Khan has been demanding early national elections since his ouster.
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