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PM Shehbaz, Zardari discuss caretaker set-up, general elections



PPP Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari (left) meets Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif (right) in Islamabad on November 22, 2022. Twitter/@FarhatullahB
  • Zardari meets PM Shehbaz at his Model Town residence.
  • Both the leaders agree to hold the next general elections on time.
  • Country’s overall political situation, elections discussed in the meeting.

Just days before the end of their five-year term, top leadership of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz — two main coalition partners in the federal government — on Saturday joined heads to mull over their political strategy, upcoming general elections on the interim set-up, well-placed sources told Geo News.

PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari held a one-on-one meeting with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif at his Model Town residence today, in which matters pertaining to country’s overall political situation, caretaker set-up and other issues were discussed.

During the meeting that lasted for one hour, the former president proposed to the premier to dissolve the assemblies in the second week of August. PM Shehbaz assured that he would take all the coalition partners into confidence on his proposal.

It is pertinent to mention here that the incumbent National Assembly will complete its constitutional term on August 12. The premier, however claimed that his government will complete its term on August 14.

Both the leaders agreed to hold the next general elections on time, the sources said, adding that they vowed “not to tolerate any delay in the elections.”

It is also discussed in the meeting that a politician should be appointed as a caretaker PM instead of a retired bureaucrat for this time.

The PPP co-chairman also commended the premier over the International Monetary Fund (IMF) deal.

The IMF deposited $1.2 billion into the State Bank of Pakistan’s (SBP) account yesterday, boosting the cash-strapped nation’s hope for economic stability, as it teetered on the brink of default for several months.

The global lender’s executive board approved a $3 billion Stand-By Agreement (SBA) under a nine-month programme. Pakistan reached a staff-level agreement with the lender last month, securing a short-term pact, which got more than expected funding for the crises-hit country of 230 million.

PM Shehbaz on interim set-up

On July 13, PM Shehbaz had said that the coalition government will hand over the reins of the regime to the interim set-up in August ahead of the general elections in the country which are expected to take place in October or November.

“In August 2023, we will give responsibility to the interim government,” the premier said in an address to the nation.

The premier repeated the circumstances in which the coalition government — a group of 13 political parties — came to power in April 2022.

“[We] cleaned up the mess of four years in 15 months and doused the fire that had engulfed the economic and foreign relations front,” he said, adding that during their 15 months in power, the coalition government “saved the state, not politics”.

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