Early elections

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INTERIOR Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmad, who has intimate knowledge of intricacies of Pakistani politics, claimed on Thursday that the country was moving towards early elections.

Addressing a news conference in Lahore, Sheikh said he wants Pakistan and democracy to progress.

Irrespective of the viewpoint of the major political players and stakeholders on the issue of fresh election, early polls seem to be the only option to pull the country out of the existing messy situation.

A fresh mandate given in free and fair elections might enable the winner to get some respite, concentrate on governance and take measures to mitigate sufferings and woes of the people.

There is hardly any doubt that the tug-of-war between the government and the opposition parties has much to do with the power politics but any change, if desired by the masses, is mainly because of the deteriorating standards of living, especially in the backdrop of record inflation.

However, in the given scenario, there are bleak prospects of fresh elections as the Prime Minister, as per the Constitution, cannot dissolve the Assembly during pendency of the no-confidence motion and he has repeatedly asserted that he would not step down either.

In case he succeeds in defeating the no-confidence motion, the opposition might not be able to gather required momentum again and, therefore, the Prime Minister might not opt for early polls.

There are also reports that the joint opposition parties and the allies of the government have an understanding not to dissolve assemblies and allow the incumbent legislatures to complete their remaining term.

This is because, it is widely believed, that PML(N) would be the main beneficiary of the immediate polls while those who are already in power in some way find no incentive to go for fresh polls.

Early elections can become a possibility and offer solution to the prevailing crisis provided there is a dialogue between the government and the opposition parties on the issue but the Prime Minister has already rejected the possibility of talks with the opposition and according to latest reports leader of the opposition Mian Shahbaz Sharif too has ruled out talks with the ‘egoistic’ Prime Minister.

The two sides should come down from their extreme positions, show flexibility and engage into a dialogue for the sake of the country and its people.

Otherwise, the situation is going to complicate further as the Interior Minister also claimed that a number of MNAs belonging to the opposition parties were in contact with the government.

This means the government is also engaged in a practice that it considers loathsome and that both sides are frantic to go to any extent to advance their interests.

Similarly, any deviation from the procedure laid down in the Constitution for disposal of the motion of no-confidence might provide temporary relief but the crisis would deepen to the detriment of the country.

In fact, there are reasons to believe that all major crises in the history of the country were mostly caused by constitutional deviations and violations as well as trespassing of the powers given to institutions and offices, a tendency that needs to be curbed at all costs.

 

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