PPP won’t push too much for early elections

ISLAMABAD – The Pakistan People’s Party will not push “too much” for early elections but expects the government to itself call snap polls, a senior PPP leader said.

The PPP Secretary General, Nayyar Bokhari, said his party wanted all the governments to complete their tenures. “It is up to them (the government) to dissolve the National Assembly or not. We will not push them too much,” he added.

The PPP leader, while speaking to The Nation, said the opposition parties believed Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi would himself dissolve the National Assembly as the government had ‘completely failed’.

“If the PM does not dissolve the National Assembly himself, we will not support any unconstitutional way to oust the government,” he said.

Last week, Prime Minister Abbasi said the government would complete its tenure and there would be no early polls. “Elections should be held on July (2018). There will be no early elections. The government will complete its (five-year) term,” he said.

Abbasi’s cabinet members are also denying the chances of early polls amid the opposition parties’ blistering attacks on the performance of the government.

The demand for early elections gained momentum in July, when Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz chief Nawaz Sharif was disqualified by the Supreme Court for hiding assets. PPP co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari is also supportive of snap polls and has been contacting other parties to form an opposition bloc.

Zardari met Pakistan Awami Tehrik chief Tahirul Qadri in Lahore this month and supported his stance on the Model Town massacre.  The PPP co-chairman hinted of a political alliance with the PAT saying: “We will see about the political deal if Tahirul Qadri gives a signal.”

The former president had also requested Qadri to talk to the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief, Imran Khan, in this regard.

At his meeting with Qadri, Zardari demanded immediate resignation of Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif as well as provincial Law Minister Rana Sanaullah. “Shehbaz Sharif will not be tolerated anymore” he said, while warning of holding protests.

Opposition leader Khurshid Shah also said the PPP wanted the government to complete its term but the elections should not be delayed under any pretext.

He said: “The general elections should be held on its scheduled time. The PPP is against snap polls but we are also against delay in polls.”

The PPP veteran said the conspirators against Nawaz Sharif were within the PML-N. “He doesn’t need to find them anywhere else. Who needs enemies when they have such people in the party itself,” he maintained.

The PPP sources said the party was “hopeful” the PM would dissolve the National Assembly before its mandated term as the government was under tremendous pressure.

“Zardari is against unconstitutional ways to remove the government. His statements on possible early elections are related to the developments taking place in the country,” said a close aide of the PPP co-chairman.

He said the PPP would press the government for early polls but would not “create an atmosphere” where “anti-democracy elements” could take advantage.


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