ISLAMABAD - Pakistan People's Party is seriously thinking about holding general elections ahead of the schedule, most probably in the fall of this year, and in this connection the party leadership is taking views of heads of the coalition partners and other key stakeholders including the main opposition parties.

Sources in the government informed TheNation that PPP wanted to take its coalition partners on board on the matter and the process would be completed by the February-end, while some tentative schedule and composition of an interim setup would be finalised after the upcoming Senate elections on March 2. The sources said the differences on early elections existed among the coalition partners, as Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) wanted local bodies elections ahead of general elections and in this connection they were putting pressure on their senior coalition partner in Sindh so as to settle the matter with them on the fate and future of the Local Bodies setup in the province.

Both PPP and MQM had failed to resolve their differences over the future setup of local bodies in the province, as MQM was a strong supporter of the District Government System while the PPP, Sindh chapter, was in support of the old municipality system, which was partly restored in shape of commissionerate system in the province and restoration of the old districts in the port city of Karachi. PPP had made some contacts with main opposition parties both in the Parliament and outside to have their input on the future elections mechanism. Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman wanted holding of elections in the country at the earliest, while the PML-N leadership had not responded to government on this account so far and demanded of the ruling alliance to first meet the requisites for holding free and fair elections and that was the reason their leaders were vociferously demanding appointment of independent Chief Election Commissioner, its members and preparation of the error free electoral rolls before entering into any sort of dialogue with the government on the subject.

Sources in PML-N said they were not in a hurry and would not enter any sort of dialogue on pre-schedule elections until their demands regarding the preparation of error free electoral rolls and independent Election Commission are met.

Awami National Party, which stood by PPP in thick and thin, was also not in favour of pre-schedule elections vis-à-vis the poor law and order situation in the province but if the PPP would insist on early elections they would stand by their senior coalition partner.

The only party in the opposition, which had created ripples in the national politics by holding mammoth public rallies across the country, was not in favour of holding pre-schedule elections and wanted to see the government complete its mandated term so that they could have enough time for preparations for the general elections.

The sources in PPP informed that in a recently held core committee meeting with President Asif Ali Zardari in the chair, it was the unanimous view of the party leaders that soon after the Senate elections on March 2, the party would engage the key political players, including the main opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz in dialogue over the composition of an interim setup, which would also require meaningful consultation between the Prime Minister and Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly under the 18th Constitutional Amendment.

It was also unanimous view of the PPP leaders that after presentation and passage of the annual budget from the National Assembly, the government would likely dissolve the assemblies and install interim government and elections would tentatively be held in the October or November this year.