ISLAMABAD - Terming technocrats’ set-up and early elections unacceptable, the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) on Monday stood firm on completion of the mandated term of government and holding of elections as per schedule on August 8.
The PML-N leaders meeting under the chair of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif made it loud and clear that technocrats set-up would not be acceptable to them as there was no such provision in the Constitution while the party would not lose the opportunity of completing the mandated term to establish that democracy has taken roots and the second consecutive elected government is going to complete its constitutional term.
After the meeting, which was well attended by the senior party leaders, Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal along with ministers Kh. Saad Rafique and Zahid Hamid announced that it was decided that the National Assembly would be dissolved only on completion of its mandated five-year term on June 5 while general elections would be held in August 8.
The presence of former interior minister Ch. Nisar Ali Khan, Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif and their active participation in the discussion, had dispelled the impression of their annoyance with the party chief. The decision has poured water on the desire and demand of some opposition parties mainly Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, which wants early elections and has also offered to dissolve Khyber-Pakhtunkhawa government.
Nawaz Sharif was keen to see the government complete its mandated term and his point of view received unequivocal approval by all present in the huddle, a source in the party informed The Nation.
On the occasion, Nawaz also constituted a five-member committee headed by Speaker National Assembly Sardar Ayaz Sadiq to approach other parliamentary parties to thrash out differences on the issue of delimitation of constituencies through consensus. The other members of the committee included Engineer Amir Muqam, Kh. Saad Rafique, Zahd Hamid and Lt. Gen. (retd) Abdul Qadir Baloch.
The Speaker National Assembly has already called the meeting of heads of parliamentary parties today to ensure consensus on legislation to holding elections on provisional results of census.
Reposing full confidence in the leadership of Nawaz Sharif, the PML-N leaders said that they would stand by democracy and would not let any conspiracy against the democratic order succeed.
Nawaz Sharif rubbished the impression of entering into any NRO with rulers and made it loud and clear that ‘it is a political issue and they will keep it out of the political arena.’
Ahsan Iqbal said that Pakistan is a democratic country and being a ruling political party they have signed an NRO with 200 million people of Pakistan.
He said that holding of census after every 10 years was a constitutional requirement and said that now after much delayed holding of census it would create a constitutional issue if the next elections are not held in the light of fresh census.
He said that for timely holding of elections the Parliament would be required to give approval to it through a constitutional amendment to hold the next general elections in the light of provisional results of the national census.
He further said that in the light of the fresh census Punjab would be losing nine National Assembly seats while Khyber-Pakhtunkhawa would see increase of five seats, Balochistan three and Federal Capital would have another National Assembly constituency.
“For the sake of supremacy of constitution and continuity of democratic order they would not object to a slash of nine seats in Punjab,” Ahsan added.
Kh. Saad Rafique asked both PTI and PPP to come forward and help the government pass the constitutional amendment paving the way for holding of next general elections under the fresh national census.
Sources in the party informed that the leaders also gave approval to the party’s plan to launch the mass mobilisation plan to give counter narrative to the negative propaganda against the ruling party particularly against Sharif family for corruption cases against them. The sources said that Nawaz Sharif informed the party leaders that he would fight the corruption cases against him in the accountability court and would once again prove his innocence.