Pakistan’s two provincial jurisdictions have officially dissolved their parliaments on the behest of PTI Chairman Imran Khan’s indirect advice. Although former Prime Minister Khan doesn’t have constitutional powers to dissolve provincial parliaments, his political leverage against his provincial PTI counterparts is enough to force the Chief Ministers of the two provinces to follow his heed.
As a result, the province of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa will now be conducting elections within three months. In the meantime, the CMs of Punjab and KP will choose a caretaker government under the advice of the CM and leader of the opposition. The selected nominee will perform their duties until the formation of a new government after the election.
Although the PTI party already ruled the provinces, Imran Khan chose to dissolve both parliaments as a strategy to force a federal general election to take place. Historically speaking, federal and provincial elections at this scale happen simultaneously. With two large populated provinces entering elections within three months, Khan hopes to bolster his current popularity and force the federal Pakistani Democratic Movement Coalition to call an early election.
Constitutionally, the federal government doesn’t have to hold elections if provincial elections occur. However, there is a historical precedent for simultaneously conducting federal and provincial elections. Chairman Khan hopes to put as much pressure as possible from all angles to force the current federal government to dissolve the National Assembly: a financial-economic crisis, a rise in terrorist attacks in KP and Balochistan, a cost of living crisis, tackling the aftereffects of a catastrophic flood, and a polarized political sphere. In combination, the government in power has a storm brewing up for them.
With PTI Chairman Khan’s immense popularity, an early federal election will benefit his party’s path to power. Many political pundits are arguing that PTI is the party most likely to win if an election were to be held now. It is coming from Imran Khan’s outage as PM back in April from a no-confidence vote. Furthermore, with his popularity rising sharply after an attempted assassination of him, chairman Khan seems to be fully confident in the political decisions he is making as of late.
Moreover, a recent interview with the BBC. Khan reveals that a federal election will be held in April of 2023. This information comes forth even though the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has yet to formally state such a claim. As to where Khan is getting this information from, he explains it as a prediction. He denies any contact from Army Chief General Syed Munir about any details.
As to why Chairman Khan is interested in forcing an early election, political pundits believe that Khan fears that the current PDM coalition government may stabilize the economy and the country’s many crises by the next official election date. For context, Pakistan was able to secure more than half of the funds needed to address the flooding catastrophe in its Sindh province from international peers, is currently attempting to secure funding from the IMF to keep the country financially afloat, and is looking to grow its GDP by over 5% by this year. At the same time, the country is at real risk of default as its foreign reserves are at historical lows, its service debt at historic highs, billions in economic losses in various industries due to devastating floods, and inflation at over 24% PTI leader Imran Khan is attempting to use his popularity and the country’s current crises as a path to power before the state of the country gets better.
More updates to come.
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