Imran for talks

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FORMER Prime Minister and Chairman PTI Imran Khan on Friday invited the coalition government to talk over the possibility of early general election and threatened that if the Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa assemblies were dissolved, around 66% of Pakistan will have to go to the polls.

In a video address to the PTI’s Punjab parliamentary party, he claimed that the demand for early general election was part and parcel of their resolve to shore up the country’s economy as the party was totally focused on bringing Pakistan back to its feet.

The coalition government neither clearly rejected nor accepted the conditional offer of talks but two federal ministers – Ishaq Dar and Marriyum Aurangzeb – stuck to the original stand of the ruling alliance that the general election would be held in October 2023.

However, contrary to the earlier stance of the coalition government as highlighted by former President Asif Ali Zardari in a television interview that no-confidence motions would be moved against the Chief Ministers of Punjab and KP, a meeting of PML(N), held after the offer of talks by Imran Khan, reportedly decided that moving a no-confidence motion against present provincial governments of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) would not be a sagacious move and thus the coalition government would go for a wait and see policy.

This could mean that the government would either engage the PTI in talks as PTI too was not in a hurry to implement its threat of dissolution of the two assemblies because of obvious implications of the move or it is preparing to go for elections of the two provincial assemblies in case they are dissolved by CMs.

Anyhow, there seems to be a window of opportunity for talks and one hopes the two sides would shun rhetoric and give dialogue an opportunity as this is the only viable means to sort out differences.

A consensus date for general election is not an impossibility when both the coalition Government and PML(Q) (heading the government in Punjab) want elections after presentation of budgets for the next financial year as part of their plans to brighten the prospects of success in the polls.