A dull departure of MPs, this time

ISLAMABAD   -  Federal capital Islamabad’s air is dull, uncertain and reeks of political hatred when the members of the national assembly are leaving for their respective hometowns, most probably today after the prime minister sends a summary to the president for the dissolution of the legislature.

The situation has been quite different this time around compared with the previous departures of the members parliament (MPs) from Islamabad with no elections in sight, uncertainty ruling the roost and most alarmingly, political animosity overflowing the political minds. The country has never seen a political scenario of this tense atmosphere when thousands of the political workers are in jails and most importantly, the main opposition leader has been jailed for three years and disqualified to run for a parliament seat for five years. Much has changed in the political arena in a course of around 15 months after cricketer-turned-politician and then prime minister Imran Khan was ousted via a parliamentary vote last year. The Imran-led Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) is almost ‘done and dusted’ with more threat still looming in the shape of a ban on the party and even losing the election symbol. The outgoing MPs have had always left Islamabad with a hope to meet sooner than later as elections had always been sure to be held within the constitutional timeframe. This time, the parliamentarians would leave the capital city with uncertainty gripping the politics and political acrimony touching its heights. Elections festivity had been a must ahead of the general elections and the politicians were welcomed by the crowded political camps at their hometowns. This time, it seems, hardly anyone would notice the MPs coming back to their homes. The ruling alliance led by Shehbaz Sharif had been striving hard to delay the general elections until a time of their convenience. The Supreme Court even could not make the government hold elections in two provinces of Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. The reason of the fright the ruling PDM is suffering is quite clear; unfavourable political circumstances. According to an outgoing cabinet member, general elections are unlikely to be held within 90 days of the dissolution of the national assembly. Minister Rana Sanaullah is sure that the delimitation process after 2023 census approval may exceed 90 days – a constitutional timeframe to hold general elections after the dissolution of the national assembly.

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