In a carefully worked out deal aimed at assuaging both the riled-up opposition and the current government, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan may announce early elections after the Budget is presented, possibly ahead of time too, sources told CNN-News18.
Pakistan is in political turmoil as it faces a recurring economic crisis, and Khan’s government is relying on the International Monetary Fund to release the next tranche of a $6 billion rescue package to shore up the country’s dwindling foreign currency reserves. Khan, a former captain of Pakistan’s national cricket team, took power in 2018 after the country’s two mainstream parties’ leaders were discredited by corruption allegations.
According to political analysts, the country’s powerful military had supported Khan’s rise to power, but the generals have now grown dissatisfied with his leadership. Khan has denied receiving military support.
Khan, who is set to address a much-anticipated rally in Islamabad at 4 PM on Sunday, ‘has to be polite towards all institutions’ for a win-win situation for the government and opposition, said the sources. CNN-News!8 had earlier reported that the leader might even resign at the public gathering. However, Khan has repeatedly denied any such move, reiterating that he would stay in his post.
The rally comes ahead of a no-confidence motion against Khan, to be tabled on Monday, after which seven days of
debate should take place before an actual vote. More than 20 lawmakers have deserted Khan in recent weeks,
leaving him short of the 172 needed for a simple majority in parliament. Political analysts predict that Khan’s
supporters will use the weekend to persuade some of the defectors to rejoin the party.
On the government seeking clarification from the Supreme Court on a constitutional point (interpretation of
Article 63-A) over disqualification of dissident lawmakers who have threatened to vote against Khan during the
no-trust motion, the apex court will also have to reject the presidential reference under the agreement, the
Khan will have ask the Chief Minister of Punjab Usman Ahmad Khan Buzdar to resign ‘immediately’, the sources
said. Buzdar is said to be unpopular within Khan’s party, the opposition and the military, signalling a lack of
political consensus with the PM at the forefront.
PPP leader Yousuf Raza Gillani may also become the Chairman of the Upper House or Senate of Pakistan under
the deal, the sources said.
The government will also have to assure the opposition of a free and fair decision in the PTI foreign funding case,
the sources said. Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party has been accused of withholding critical information from
Pakistan’s Election Commission regarding a foreign funding case.
The documents handed over to the Election Commission of Pakistan in the PTI foreign funding case by the State
Bank of Pakistan show that information about transactions worth more than $ 2 million from 14 different foreign
countries, as well as hundreds of millions of rupees in local transactions into the party’s bank accounts, was not
provided to the ECP authorities.
Meanwhile, in another point under the agreement, the government has to lay off speeding up any army postings
or appointments, the sources said, adding that the Pakistan Peoples Party, Pakistan Muslim League (N), and Jamiat
Ulema-e-Islam have agreed upon all the mentioned deals and would ‘celebrate their victory with the
announcement of early elections’.
Allies will also have to be neutral under the deal; they would not join the PTI or Opposition in NCM, sources said.
However, if Khan fails to agree to the points or disobeys them, there would be ‘chaos’ in the country, posing a
‘dangerous’ threat to the country’s stability, the sources added.