The federal coalition parties said they sat with the PTI with an ‘open mind’, but Khan continued to ask for the dissolution of assemblies (National, Sindh and Balochistan) by May 14
By: Chandrashekar Bhat
Pakistan’s ruling coalition has dismissed former prime minister Imran Khan’s demand to dissolve the National Assembly by May 14 as “impracticable”.
Ahead of the third round of talks between the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) (PML-N)-led federal coalition and Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party scheduled for Tuesday (2), the government told the cricketer-turned politician that he cannot hold talks at gunpoint.
“The first condition of talks is, there are no pre-conditions. Khan is so desperate that he wants his way or the highway,” PML-N secretary general and federal minister for development Ahsan Iqbal was quoted as saying by the Dawn newspaper.
The federal coalition asked him to be more flexible for the success of this dialogue between the government and the opposition, the report said on Monday (1).
“If the talks fail, the ultimate loser will be the PTI as there is a provision for delaying elections for a year under the Constitution. Imran Khan has warned of creating a law and order situation in the country (if polls are not held this July) and in such a scenario, the elections will be delayed for another year,” Iqbal said on Sunday (30).
The federal coalition parties sat with the PTI with an ‘open mind’, but Khan continued to ask for the dissolution of assemblies (National, Sindh and Balochistan) by May 14, he said, adding that the demand is not acceptable to the federal coalition.
The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), which pushed the PML-N to hold parleys with the PTI on elections, however, is still optimistic.
“I hope that dissolution of the assemblies by May 14 is a proposal and not a condition set by Khan. This suggestion is not viable. Who will present the budget if the National Assembly is dissolved in May?” asked senior PPP senior leader and PM’s special assistant Qamar Zaman Kaira.
The Supreme Court has asked the government and the PTI to sit together for talks. The apex court had already given May 14 as the date for elections in Punjab and the two sides should agree sooner on a new date to postpone the Punjab polls.
The PTI is determined to press for polls in the provincial legislatures, but the government maintains its stance on simultaneous elections across the country.
The National Assembly will complete its five-year term in August this year.
According to the Constitution, elections shall be held within 90 days after the dissolution of the lower house. This means that the election must be held by mid-October. The last general election was held in July 2018.
PTI chief Khan was ousted from power in April after losing a no-confidence vote in his leadership, which he alleged was part of a US-led conspiracy targeting him because of his independent foreign policy decisions on Russia, China, and Afghanistan.