Ex-PM Imran pushes for early Pakistan election by dissolving second provincial government - GulfToday

Ex-PM Imran pushes for early Pakistan election by dissolving second provincial government


Imran Khan gestures during an event in Islamabad. File

Seeking to force Pakistan to hold an early national election, the opposition party led by former prime minister Imran Khan dissolved its provincial government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) on Wednesday, three days after doing the same in Punjab province.

Its rival, the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party, criticised the move, saying it meant to deepen the political crisis and force early parliamentary elections.

Under the rules, fresh polls for the two provincial assemblies should be held within 90 days, and Imran Khan's Pakistan's Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) is gambling on the national government being unable to afford to hold the provincial elections separately from a national election, which is otherwise due by October.

Pakistan has four provinces, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in the northwest and Punjab in the east account for more that half of the country's 220 million population.

KPgovernor-GhaulamAli Ghulam Ali signs on summary, sent by KP chief minister dissolving provincial assembly. Twitter photo

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's Governor Ghulam Ali said he had accepted the resignation tendered by the PTI government a day earlier, telling reporters that he had "no other option."

The 70-year-old Imran Khan, a former captain of Pakistan international cricket team, has been campaigning for early elections and has claimed — without providing evidence — that his ouster last April in a no-confidence vote in Parliament was illegal.

He has also led a nationwide protest campaign against his successor Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, and was shot and wounded at a rally in October.

Shahbaz, whose government is trying to steer the economy out of a severe crisis that was worsened by the devastating floods in the country last year, has repeatedly rejected the calls for early polls.

Reuters / AP

Related articles