Parliament of Pakistan dissolved to hold national elections

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif addresses the 23rd Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Summit hosted by India in Islamabad on July 4, 2023. Manual by Press Information Department (PID)/REUTERS/File photo

  • The President signs a proposal to retire the government
  • Sharif begins discussions to choose a caretaker prime minister
  • Election delay will fuel political uncertainty – Analysts

ISLAMABAD, Aug 9 (Reuters) – (This Aug 9 story has been corrected to include the omitted word ‘relentless’ in paragraph 8)

Parliament was dissolved by the president on Wednesday night on the advice of Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shebaz Sharif, the president’s office said, setting the stage for a national election amid political and economic crises.

The five-year term of Parliament is The advice came three days before the end of the 12th. It will be followed by a caretaker administration chosen by Sharif and a leader of the opposition in the outgoing parliament to hold new elections in 90 days.

The Prime Minister had informed the Parliament a little earlier that he would advise the President tonight to dissolve the Parliament. He said he would begin discussions with the Leader of the Opposition on Thursday to select candidates nominated by both sides to be appointed caretaker prime minister.

However, polling could be delayed by several months as the Election Commission begins redelineating hundreds of constituencies based on the new census.

Delaying the election could stoke public anger and increase uncertainty in the nuclear-armed nation, analysts said.

Cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan’s party won the July 2018 general election, and he was sworn in as Prime Minister for the first time a few days later.

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Khan has been at the center of political turmoil since he was ousted as prime minister in a no-confidence vote last year, which raised concerns about Pakistan’s stability. He has since been jailed on corruption charges, after which he has been barred from contesting any election for five years.

Khan has blamed the powerful military, which has ruled Pakistan intermittently since independence in 1947, for his ouster. The army has denied the allegation.

Sharif was replaced by Khan, who has struggled with a crippling economic crisis and historically high inflation levels as the government implemented painful reforms to secure funding from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

In addition to the legal problems that could arise if the vote is delayed, the sideline of Khan, the country’s most popular leader according to opinion polls, will cast doubt on the election’s credibility.

Reporting by Asif Shahjad in Islamabad and Gibran Beshimam in Karachi; Additional reporting by Ariba Shahid in Karachi; Editing by Andrew Heavens, Bernadette Baum, Leslie Adler, and Jonathan Otis

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Shahzad is an accomplished media professional with over two decades of experience. He reports primarily outside the Pakistan and Afghanistan regions with great interest and extensive knowledge of Asia. He also reports on politics, economics, finance, business, commodities, Islamic militancy, and human rights.

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