Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has said that he will be handing over the government to a “caretaker set-up” in August, once the term of the assembly ends, Dawn reported on Thursday.
Sharif made a similar announcement yesterday as well, in which he declared that the term of his government would end on August 14.
However, Sharif did not make it clear whether the coalition partners would go for the normal dissolution of the National Assembly (NA) on completion of its term on August 12 or he would advise the president for an early dissolution.
The five-year term of the NA commenced under the then-PTI government on August 12, 2018 and will be completed under a PM-Shehbaz-led ruling coalition following the ouster of former premier Imran Khan through a no-confidence vote in April last year.
At the outset of an address — broadcast on television — PM Sharif said he was given the “sacred responsibility” of running the country and “working for its welfare” in April last year.
“We will hand over this responsibility to the caretaker set-up in August 2023,” Dawn quoted Sharif as saying.
He claimed that the incumbent government, in mere 15 months of its brief tenure, cleaned the “rubble of destruction”, which he said was a “work of the PTI” over the last four years.
Sharif added that during the past few months, his government “sacrificed politics to protect the state”.
Earlier on Wednesday, Shehbaz Sharif said that the coalition government's tenure will end on August 14 and the date for the next polls will be announced by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) either in “October or November”, Geo News reported.
"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," Geo News quoted Sharif as saying.
He added, "Whosoever forms the next government after elections, their top priority should be education so they can make this nation great”.
Earlier, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah had also said the assemblies could be dissolved earlier than the scheduled date of August 13 to "facilitate" the ECP.
The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has also demanded the elections take place at their stipulated time as it is eyeing "its victory" in the upcoming polls, Geo News reported.
The government continues to be under pressure as the country is undergoing its worst economic crisis, inflation is at record highs and the prices not coming down despite all the claims by the authorities.
Citing recent surveys, Geo News reported that the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) — the ruling coalition government in Pakistan — has lost much of its popularity and faces an uphill task to win the confidence of the people in the upcoming polls.
As a result, PML-N is eyeing the return of its supremo, Nawaz Sharif as the three-time PM has a strong support base in Punjab, Geo News reported.