Pak will not hold elections before 2023, warns Imran Khan against 'gravedigging'

  • Khan called on people 'to join the protest in large numbers' after his party's core committee meeting in Peshawar. He would meet protesters on the Srinagar highway. However, per Pak media outlets, the government will not allow Imran Khan's rally at that location.
Pakistan PM Shehbaz Sharif and PTI leader Imran Khan Niazi.(AFP)
Pakistan PM Shehbaz Sharif and PTI leader Imran Khan Niazi.(AFP)
Published on May 24, 2022 01:27 PM IST
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Written by Ishika Yadav | Edited by Chandrashekar Srinivasan

Pakistan's Shehbaz Sharif-led government has rejected demands by ousted prime minister Imran Khan and his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) to hold elections immediately. The ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) said polls would only be held in August 2023 - after the government finishes its term - a report by Pakistan's Express Tribune said quoting sources.

The Tribune quoted its sources as saying allies of the ruling PML-N said that since the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) had already announced dates - for a delimitation exercise to be completed by August - it is not feasible to hold early polls.

The report further said Sharif is set to chair a meeting of the coalition government on Wednesday to decide a course of action regarding the next general election.

The announcement is in response to Imran Khan's continuing demand to hold fresh national elections after he and his PTI party were removed from power in a dramatic fashion last month. The PTI chief is expected to lead a protest march to capital Islamabad on Wednesday to protest the Shehbaz Sharif government and call for dissolution of the National Assembly.

Khan called on people 'to join the protest in large numbers' after his party's core committee meeting in Peshawar. He would meet protesters on the Srinagar highway.

However, per Pak media outlets, the government will not allow Imran Khan's rally at that location. The PTI will instead be provided with an open ground, sources said.

Pak interior minister Rana Sanaullah also warned Khan against creating a law-and-order problem, and said "law will take its course if he attempts to be the gravedigger of democracy during the march", the Express Tribune reported.

The last general election in Pakistan was in July 2018 - Imran Khan's PTI was victorious.

Khan was removed as PM after losing a vote of no-confidence motion last month, following which opposition leader Shehbaz Sharif took charge as the prime minister of the country.

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