ISLAMABAD - Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Khursheed Shah on Tuesday suggested midterm elections to end the prevalent political crisis.

Talking to media persons in Islamabad, Khursheed Shah stated that it would be better for the system if Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif announced midterm polls.

However, the PPP leader added that it would not be appropriate to force the premier to bow out. “We want survival of the system and parliament,” he said.

“Midterm polls could only be held if the prime minister, sensing the unrest, announces it,” he said.

Shah reiterated he would not support the demand for the prime minister’s resignation. The prime minister could decide it (midterm polls) in view of the political situation prevailing for the last one and a half month, he added.

He said Nawaz Sharif was a constitutionally elected prime minister and he was felicitated by former president Asif Ali Zardari and PTI chief Imran Khan on his victory.

On the other hand, Khursheed Shah sent a legal defamation notice to PTI chief Imran Khan for repeatedly levelling corruption allegations against him.

Shah, after consultations amongst the party leaders, was given a final nod by PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari to serve a legal notice on Imran Khan against his diatribe, sources in the PPP told The Nation.

Khan, during his continued anti-government sit-in, has time and again levelled corruption charges against him and other leaders of different political parties. He accused Shah of backing the PML-N for fear of “pending corruption cases” the existence of which the PPP leader denies.

Khursheed Shah said in the legal notice that Imran Khan’s allegations had damaged his reputation. “He should apologise to me on electronic and print media and pay Rs 10 billion. If he fails to do so, we will move a court of law,” said the three-page notice, which was served on the PTI chief at his residences in Islamabad and Lahore. PPP’s legal wizard Senator Raza Rabbani prepared the notice with the help of his team, it is learnt.

In his talk with the media persons, the opposition leader, commenting on the current political impasse, put weight behind resolving the issue through dialogue.

“PTI and PAT senior members are in contact with the Political Jirga and the situation would be handled through negotiations. We are always in favour of democracy as continuation of the democratic system is need of the hour,” said Shah.

Khursheed Shah also suggested that investigation of election rigging should be carried out through the Supreme Court of Pakistan. He reiterated the Jirga should resume direct talks with the leadership of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and ruling Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) to end the deadlock.

To a question, Shah said the PPP would hold a public gathering for show of power on October 18. “This public gathering would be continuation of political efforts,” he added.

Thousands of anti-government protesters, led by Imran Khan and Tahirul Qadri, have staged sit-ins in the federal capital’s red zone to oust Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.