The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), a major coalition partner, has proposed to the federal government that all national and provincial assemblies be dissolved on August 8. The Prime Minister-led government and the provincial assemblies are nearing the end of their five-year term next month. The PPP made this suggestion during an informal interaction with journalists.
The Federal Law Minister, Azam Nazeer Tarar, has clarified that there will be no extension in the term of the National Assembly. He emphasized the government’s commitment to holding free and fair general elections. Tarar acknowledged some flaws in the Election Act and mentioned that a parliamentary committee is reviewing proposals from organizations like the Free and Fair Election Network (Fafen), the Pakistan Institute of Legislative Development (Pildat), and different political parties. He assured that the recommendations of the parliamentary body would be made public.
The statements were made following Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah’s remark that the assemblies could be dissolved earlier than the scheduled date of August 13 to give more time to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for organizing elections. Sanaullah clarified that the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and its leader, Nawaz Sharif, are in favor of dissolving the assemblies and holding timely elections.
While the Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa assemblies have already been dissolved by the ruling party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in January, the assemblies in Sindh and Balochistan, as well as the National Assembly, are yet to be dissolved.
Sanaullah dismissed the notion that delaying the dissolution of the assemblies was aimed at favoring the ECP or engaging in political tactics. He stated that the difference of a few weeks would not have a significant impact and that matters were being handled in accordance with constitutional requirements.
As the term of the current parliament and government approaches its end in the next 30 days, the National Assembly and the provincial assemblies of Sindh and Balochistan are set to expire on August 12. Following the dissolution of the assemblies, caretaker setups will take over government affairs in Islamabad, Karachi, and Quetta. Similar interim administrations have already been established in Lahore and Peshawar since the dissolution of the Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa assemblies earlier this year.