ISLAMABAD -  The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) will not support installation of a technocrat setup if the current government is sent packing as is being speculated in political circles.

However, party officials say that they would go to any extent, even resigning from the National Assembly, and renew a protest movement to push the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) for early elections.

Furthermore, the PTI—the principal opposition party in the National Assembly after the PPP— says that any significant defections or emergence of a forward bloc within the ruling PML-N would not serve its purpose of early elections because the move would only pave way for an in-house change.

The PTI stresses that its only demand was the holding of snap polls because the incumbent government has “failed to govern the country and there was administrative chaos after the announcement of Panama case verdict by the apex court.”

Background interviews with some senior PTI leaders indicate that the party will not support any extra-constitutional step, even though the rumour mills of bringing a technocrat set-up are running high.

The interviews indicate the party’s struggle will remain within the parameters of the rule of law and Constitution.

However, the PTI leaders are not sure whether the party will announce a protest sit-in in Islamabad or not, as it did in 2014, to press for its demand of snap polls.

The PTI acting information secretary and its spokesperson, Fawad Chaudhry, categorically said that the PTI would not endorse “any extra-constitutional” set-up of a technocrat government.

“Our only demand is for early elections, and we can go to any extent to push the ruling party to meet our demand including that of tendering resignations [from the National Assembly] and start afresh protest movement,” he said in an interview with The Nation.

Chaudhry said that Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi himself should realise the situation that there was an “administrative chaos” in the country and should announce early elections after dissolving the assemblies.

He said that those who could not contest elections talk about installation of a technocrat set-up to pave their way into the corridors of power but the PTI being a political party did not support such an extra-constitutional set-up.

“The only way forward is the conduct of early elections,” Chaudhry said.

The PTI Vice Chairman, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, in an interview told The Nation that his party would only talk about the change that would be within the ambit of law and the Constitution.

“We want this democratic process to move on,” he said, adding that the PTI would not support any illegal technocrat set-up.

Qureshi said that these were mere rumours and the PML-N was behind it to give an impression that perhaps its government was being dislodged.

“We are only demanding for early polls because the ruling party had failed to run its affairs smoothly,” he said.

Qureshi added that the PTI would continue with this demand, while remaining within the limits of Constitution.

Asad Umar, senior PTI leader and member of the National Assembly, also said that the PTI would only make a demand that would be within the ambit of Constitution.

“If the present democratic set-up has failed to move ahead, the only constitutional way is the holding of early elections,” he said.

Umar added that early elections were the PTI’s only demand that was “very legitimate”.

Responding to a question, he said that some defections or the emergence of a forward bloc within the ruling party would not serve the purpose of the PTI’s demand of snap polls.

“This will only bring an in-house change,” Umar said.

He, however, admitted that the move would bring more instability within the system and the government would become paralysed.

Umar said that the PTI wanted major defections within the PML-N, not at the moment, but when the next general elections would be announced.

“PTI will try to get more 'electables' under its fold for the next elections like other parties,” he said.

Dr Shireen Mazari, another senior party leader who is now representing the party in the Parliamentary Committee on National Accountability Law, said that rumours of installation of a technocrat set-up would be a “nonsense” as this would be an extra-constitutional step.

She also endorsed that the PTI was demanding for early elections and the demand was legitimate and within the law and Constitution.