Pakistan PM to dissolve parliament paving way for elections

Islamabad, Aug 9 (EFE).- Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said Wednesday he will seek the dissolution of the lower house of the parliament from the president, which will pave the way for general elections to be held later this year.

“Tonight, with the permission of the House, I will send the advice for the dissolution of the National Assembly to the president,” Sharif said, addressing the last session of the National Assembly.

Sharif assumed office as prime minister in April last year after the then-PM Imran Khan was ousted in a parliamentary vote of no-confidence.

Although the tenure of the elected assembly expires on Aug.12, Sharif has announced its dissolution three days before its actual time.

As per the law, Sharif will send a summary for the dissolution of the assembly to President Arif Alvi who will have 48 hours to approve it, after which it will automatically stand dissolved.

The president will then need to appoint a caretaker prime minister in consultation with the outgoing prime minister and opposition leader.

Sharif has said no name for the caretaker PM has been finalized yet.

Sharif termed his 16-month-long tenure as the country’s executive head as the most difficult test of his life as the nation went through its worst economic and political crisis in history.

“I never had to go through such a difficult test before in my 38-year-long (political) career as the country was mired in a severe economic crisis, oil prices remained high and there was political chaos,” he said.

Earlier, while addressing the final session of his cabinet, he thanked all the members for their support during his term in office.

“Despite all the challenges and problems we faced, despite the coalition partners having their own manifestos and opinions, they came together to save Pakistan,” he said.

He said an interim government will take charge and elections will take place, allowing an elected government to take over.

“We all will work hard together with the new government to take the country forward,’ said Sharif.

The announcement comes a day after the election commission announced Khan’s disqualification from public office for the next five years after he was sentenced to three years in prison for corruption.

Khan is currently facing more than 150 cases that he believes are politically motivated, designed to hinder his chances of becoming the next prime minister.

Khan was taken into custody on Saturday after a court found him guilty of corruption, leading to a three-year imprisonment term.

The charges against him stem from accusations of unlawfully selling state gifts during his tenure as prime minister from 2018 to 2022, as well as failing to disclose the monetary gains derived from these transactions.

This marks the second instance of the charismatic opposition leader’s arrest since his removal. He was previously arrested in May but was released just a few days later, amid unrest in the country driven by his supporters demanding his release. EFE


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