Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has said the National Assembly would be dissolved on August 9, paving way for general elections in the next 90 days.
Sharif's announcement means that the assembly would be dissolved three days early, as the Parliament completes its five-year term on August 12.
As per the Constitution, general elections are to be held within 90 days of the dissolution of the assembly or the completion of the parliament's term. Sharif's ruling coalition is preparing for the election in which it's pitched against Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaaf (PTI). Sharif had come to power last year after Khan was ousted after losing a no-confidence vote in the parliament.
Sharif made the announcement of the assembly's dissolution on Thursday at a dinner reception hosted in honour of the ruling allies at the Prime Minister's House, according to the Dawn newspaper.
The Constitution provides that if the National Assembly completes its tenure, elections are to be held in 60 days, but in case of premature dissolution, this period is extended to 90 days.
Sharif will send a notification to President Arif Alvi for the dissolution of the National Assembly on August 9, reported The Express Tribune newspaper.
As per the Constitution, the assembly will stand dissolved as soon as the president signs the notification. However, if, for any reason, the president does not sign the advice, says the report, the assembly will be automatically dissolved after 48 hours of receiving the prime minister’s notification.
At the reception, Sharif apprised the participants that the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) had finalised consultations within the party, and the premier will begin a final round of discussions with allies on the caretaker set-up on Friday, said the report, adding that the process is expected to take at least three days. An online meeting with allies on the caretaker set-up is also expected to be held on Friday.
On Thursday, Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari also held a lengthy meeting with Sharif on this issue, the source said, according to the report.
Sharif briefed his allies at the dinner about the coalition government's performance, said the report, adding that he claimed that the government had increased revenue collection by 13 per cent in 15 months as more than 1.3 million new taxpayers were included in the tax net. Sharif claimed recoveries remained over 90 per cent in the power sector, said the report, adding that he also said that it may be noted that the circular debt posted an 18 per cent —Rs 393 billion— increase in the past 11 months, according to the report.
Earlier, Shehbaz had said that if the PML-N comes to power in the upcoming general elections, then former PM Nawaz Sharif will be the Prime Minister of Pakistan. The three-time prime minister, the elder Sharif, has been living in London in self-imposed exile since 2019.
"The premier said his elder brother Nawaz Sharif would face the law upon his return to Pakistan adding that he was sent abroad on medical grounds on the basis of a medical report prepared on the directives of former PM Imran Khan," PTI reported Shehbaz Sharif as saying.