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Sharif family’s “emphatic no” for snap polls set to ignite political uncertainty in Pakistan

With emphatic no about snap polls to the powerful circles, some analysts believe that the PML-N was on a collision course with the establishment.

ISLAMABAD: Sharif family’s emphatic no to snap polls in the country is bound to further ignite political uncertainty in the country.

According to sources, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif rushed to London from Egypt last week as he was ‘given few days deadline’ to announce early general elections in the country to overcome political crisis.

On the one hand, Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf has been pushing the coalition government to announce early elections while on the other, the powerful circles _ who make and break govts _ also advised PM Shehbaz Sharif to look into the possibility of announcing snap polls as early as possible, even before the arrival of the PTI marchers in Islamabad.

Shehbaz Sharif suddenly rushed to London to seek guidance from his elder brother _ Nawaz Sharif, PML-N supremo and other family members of Nawaz Sharif in London including Maryam Nawaz.

Sharifs, who held different rounds of meetings in the capital city of UK, agreed to appoint the senior most Lt-General as new army chief, but they did not show flexibility on holding early elections.

With emphatic no to the powerful circles for snap polls, some analysts believe that the PML-N was on a collision course with the establishment.

However, things may change after the appointment of new army chief as PTI chairman Imran Khan has stepped back from his popular stance that the government of thieves cannot appoint new army chief.

As the Sharif family has announced the appointment of new army chief on seniority basis, the controversy about the COAS appointment has almost dissipated now and the key focus of the political arch rivals and power-brokers will now be the early elections.

Now the GHQ will send three to four names of the senior most Lt-Generals and the government will pick two names _ one for the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff committee (CJCSC) and the other for the chief of army staff (COAS).

The posts of the CJCSC and COAS will fall vacant on Nov 29 as the sitting top-2 4-star generals _ General Nadeem Raza and General Qamar Javed Bajwa are scheduled to retire on second last day of the current month.

How the government and the establishment handle the PTI’s demand of early elections in the country to end the ongoing political mess? This will be clear soon after the appointment of new army chief.

The fact is that the coalition government leaders believe that they got the government to save the country from default and they took harsh measures of massive taxation, unprecedented hike in electricity tariff along with extortion of billions of rupees every month from power consumers in the name of fuel cost adjustment, popularly known as fraud cost adjustment.

Also, rupee too has fallen to 226 rupees in the open market against dollar, from 175 rupees when Imran Khan was ousted from power on April 9, 2022, through a no-confidence move _ a factor which not only magnified inflation but also put extra burden of hundreds of billions rupees on the consumers.

In this situation, the coalition government leaders believe that they have saved the country from default _ may be for the time being and they have lost their vote-bank that was evident from the by-elections on 11 seats and the PML-N could won one and only seat of Punjab Assembly from Sheikhupura.

The coalition partners also are of the opinion that they did not get the government to hold early elections but to complete the remaining term and to stabilize the economy of the country.

Let us see what happens in the country on the political front after Sharifs “absolute not” to the option of holding snap polls.

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I am an experienced writer, analyst, and author. My exposure in English journalism spans more than 28 years. In the past, I have been working with daily The Muslim (Lahore Bureau), daily Business Recorder (Lahore/Islamabad Bureaus), Daily Times, Islamabad, daily The Nation (Lahore and Karachi). With daily The Nation, I have served as Resident Editor, Karachi. Since 2009, I have been working as a Freelance Writer/Editor for American organizations.

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