Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif firmly stated on Wednesday that the Pakistan Democratic Movement’s (PDM) tenure would conclude on August 14, refuting speculations about the government’s intention to extend its stay in power.
The general elections are held 60 days after the dissolution of an assembly. However, as the assemblies of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab were dissolved in January but have yet to witness polls, concerns were raised that the ruling party might attempt to prolong its tenure. Addressing the Education Endowment Fund launch ceremony in Islamabad, the prime minister clarified, “Our government’s tenure will end on August 14 […] the election commission will decide when the polls will take place — whether in October or November.”
He emphasized the significance of education, stating, “…whoever forms the next government after the elections, their top priority should be education to empower our nation and make it great.”
The prime minister also disclosed that a budget of Rs3 billion had been allocated this fiscal year for the endowment fund, aimed at providing quality education to the youth and nurturing them as the “builders of the nation.”
All major partners of the PDM, including the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), and the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F), appear to be in agreement regarding holding elections in accordance with constitutional provisions.
Earlier this week, the PPP, a key coalition partner, proposed the federal government dissolve all assemblies on August 8.
Federal Law Minister Azam Nazeer Tarar had already stated unequivocally that there would be no extension in the National Assembly’s term.
Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah suggested the possibility of dissolving the assemblies earlier than the scheduled date of August 13 to “facilitate” the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).
The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has also insisted that elections must take place as planned, as the party envisions victory in the upcoming polls.
The government is facing pressure due to one of Pakistan’s worst economic crises, resulting in soaring inflation and unrelenting prices despite the authorities’ claims of providing relief to the public.
Recent surveys indicate a decline in the popularity of the PDM, presenting a challenge for the alliance to attract supporters to vote for them in the upcoming elections.
The PML-N aims to bring back its leader, Nawaz Sharif, as it seeks his fourth term in power. With a strong support base in Punjab, the three-time former prime minister remains a significant figure for the party.