LAHORE - Constitutionally, the mandated five-year term of the PML-N government completes in June next year – and the elections will be held after another two months. And during that quarter the political parties wanting to contest elections are supposed to present their respective manifestoes and seek their support.

Also, that will be the time for the parties in power (the PML-N, the PPP and the PTI) to inform the people about the performance of their respective governments.

But all three parties have been holding public meetings for the past many months, because of which speculations are being made that the government may go for early polls. (However, official sources say that the elections will be held on time and that there is no other possibility)

True that any party can hold a public meeting at any place permitted by the law – but these meetings are not serving any useful purpose.

It is an open secret that public resources are used to organise such gatherings. Police, patwaris and district governments are used to swell crowds. The more the resources the bigger the gathering. However, no party will admit that public money is being used for the purpose.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif at various gatherings highlighted the performance of his government in various sectors, announced development projects for various constituencies, and lashed out at his rivals, mainly the PTI, for their failure to deliver. (Significantly, he is not as critical of the PPP for reasons best known to him. Some people say that since there is no final word in politics the PML-N, notwithstanding its bitterness of the past, may ultimately join hands with the PPP to defeat the PTI).

Imran Khan is critical of both the PML-N and the PPP for their alleged involvement in corrupt practices. He is also criticising Maryam Nawaz for the role her media cell at the PM House is playing.

Asif Ali Zardari in his speeches defends the performance of the PPP’s 2008-13 government and claims that the party will be back in power as a result of the new elections. He insists that the PPP will form government even in Punjab, the stronghold of the PML-N.

Analysts ask if it will not be better for these leaders to save their political munition for the next election campaign? That will, perhaps, be the better time to expose their rivals.

These parties can also raise important national issues in assemblies and make their proceedings livelier. (Superfluous to point out that many a time the National Assembly runs out of quorum because of which session has to be delayed or adjourned). It’s unfortunate that the prime minister has little or no time for the parliament session. Likewise, PTI chairman seldom goes to the National Assembly but has ample time for these unnecessary public meetings where he has nothing new to say.

Asif Ali Zardari and son Bilawal had decided long ago to contest the by-elections on two NA seats from Sindh to reach the parliament. But later on, they linked their decision to the outcome of the Panama Papers case decision. (The proceedings in this case are going on and a decision is not likely before three months).

It will be better for all parties to wait for the final judgment of this case. They will be doing a great national service by helping the Joint Investigating Team find answers to about a dozen questions, on the basis of which the verdict will be given. After that decision people will be in a better position to decide which party they should vote for in the next elections?