PML-N President Mian Nawaz Sharif has called on the government to end the suspense and announce a date for fresh elections. In an interview to a private TV channel telecast on Friday, he said that his party had serious reservations about the policies of the government but it showed tolerance, but now it was the government’s turn to show maturity by announcing election dates. Mian Nawaz was referring to two things.The first is the very obvious one that the terms of the current assemblies, and thus of the governments they have produced, are almost over, and thus a general election is just around the corner. The second was the statement by Information Minister last Sunday that the current government would hand over to caretakers on March 18. This statement was meant to allay popular anxiety about the end of the tenure, but it clearly did not achieve this, as it merely generated a date which has merely been the cause of further anxiety. Mian Nawaz’s party has long been demanding an early dissolution, while accusing the government of corruption, but now his statement that the present government has become the first democratic government to complete its tenure without the backing of any dictator, indicates the feeling that the government, by lasting this long, has completed its five-year tenure morally, and it should now renew its mandate in a fresh general election. This makes the demand qualitatively different from the PML-N’s original demand, as it is no longer dependent on government corruption, but merely has to do with the timing. As it is, it is not easy to see why the government is hanging on. There is hardly anything it can achieve in the time left to it, either collectively as a government, or for individual ministers, and thus the most common reason for prolonging the life of a government to the very end, is thus eliminated. The PPP, which controls two of the four provincial governments, is a junior partner in a third, and controls not just the central government, has the most at stake in an election, but its record is patchy, and thus it is most likely to be anxious to avoid an election.However, the Constitution is very clear that elections must not only be held, but held on time. There seems no reason now to avoid an election, and the PPP would actually build up goodwill for itself if it announce when elections would be held. Not only the political parties but the Election Commission would be able to brace for the challenge. If the PPP wants to serve national goals, rather than narrow partisan ones, it must make the situation about the next election clear. Therefore, Mian Nawaz’s remarks should not be considered as solely motivated by the desire of a contender for another chance at achieving office, but as the expression of a genuine sentiment.