Pakistan: Future of Shehbaz Sharif led govt hangs by a thread

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Developments in Pakistan during the last couple of days suggest that the powerful quarters are now increasingly inclined towards holding early elections in the country

 Sanjeev Sharma

New Delhi: The future of the coalition government in Pakistan is hanging by a thread as serious differences seem to have emerged between the multi-party government and the countrys powerful stakeholders, Express Tribune reported.

If the statements of several leaders of the coalition government, as well as the political experts, are something to go by, it is evident that the main point of contention is the duration of the incumbent government’s tenure.

The government is ready to take tough decisions but only on the condition that it will serve the remaining constitutional term in office without any hindrance or intrigues, Express Tribune reported.

However, developments during the last couple of days suggest that the powerful quarters are now increasingly inclined towards holding early elections in the country — a phenomenon that suddenly emerged, and embroiled the government and the powerful quarters in a dispute, the report said.

The stalemate between the government and stakeholders is not only becoming visible with every passing day, but also causing delays in the decision-making process of the government and, thus, affecting the economy and the country itself.

It was because of this reason that the coalition government was reluctant to take tough economic decisions, including ending fuel subsidy which the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has linked to the revival of the loan programme, the report said.

The uncertainty coupled with former premier Imran Khan’s planned rally and sit-in in Islamabad has also pushed Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to repeatedly postpone his address to the nation, where he is expected to present his economic plan.

In fact, political analysts, while shedding light on the gravity of the situation, said that the Prime Minister could announce dissolution of assemblies instead of presenting the fiscal plan if not assured by the stakeholders that he would complete the remaining term.

Keeping the current situation in view, the coalition partners of the ruling party clearly conveyed to Shehbaz Sharif the other night that they would stand by the government if it takes tough economic decisions.

On ending fuel subsidy, PML-N Vice-President Maryam Nawaz said that her father and three-time former premier Nawaz Sharif says that he would leave the government but would not burden people a clear hint that PML-N would prefer elections over a government standing on crutches.

Another hint about the stalemate between Islamabad and Rawalpindi emerged when Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) Khursheed Shah clearly said that the coalition government is ready for the elections and they would be happy if the government is ended.

“We would thank you for freeing us in just one month,” he said.

Political experts also believe that the Supreme Court’s decision to bar the government from making postings and transfers is also an indication that the government would not have the luxury of time and free hand at decision making, including amending the NAB law, if it moves ahead with tough economic decisions, Express Tribune reported.

 

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