Lahore, Jul 18 (PTI): Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, after facing an “embarrassing defeat” in Punjab assembly by-polls, on Monday hinted at completing his coalition government’s tenure and not giving in to the early elections demand of ousted premier Imran Khan, who is currently riding atop of his popularity wave in the country.
“The PML-N leadership has decided not to give in to the demand of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan to call for early elections,” a senior Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader told PTI after a meeting of the party bigwigs, chaired by the premier here on Monday evening.
The cricketer-turned-politician on Monday demanded the PML-N led federal government immediately announce the date for next general elections, following his party’s (PTI)’s landslide victory in Punjab by-polls.
Khan’s party on Sunday won 15 out of 20 Punjab assembly seats in the by-elections, a major setback for the prime minister’s son and Chief Minister Hamza Shehbaz, who is certain to lose his office.
The win has ensured that the PTI and Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) coalition forms the government in Punjab, owing majority of seats in the Punjab assembly after the thumping victory.
The election on the slot of the Punjab Chief Minister will be held on July 22 on the order of the Supreme Court.
PM Shehbaz was also told in the meeting about reasons for the poor performance of his party in its home ground.
“The decision to award tickets to PTI turncoats, phenomenal increase in the prices of petroleum and electricity, non-active participation of the party workers were the main reasons of humiliating defeat of PML-N at the hands of the PTI,” the PML-N leader introspected.
Meanwhile, the ruling coalition’s main leaders — PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) co-chairperson Asif Ali Zardari, and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rahman — held a telephonic conversation in the wake of the allied parties’ defeat in the Punjab by-polls.
The three leaders decided to have a joint political strategy whether to go for early polls or not after reviewing the political situation thoroughly.
PML-N spokesperson and federal information minister Marriyum Auranzeb in a statement said Shehbaz had invited the leadership of the coalition government to Lahore for Tuesday (July 19) to discuss the situation arising after the by-polls in Punjab.
Meanwhile, PM Shehbaz said Imran Khan has been running a sordid campaign to defame national institutions that is tantamount to undermining Pakistan.
“Every speech Imran Niazi delivers shows how unfit he is to hold public office. Under his direct supervision, the PTI has run a sordid campaign to defame national institutions and thus undermine Pakistan. He is rewriting Machiavellian principles of politics in his lust for power,” Shehbaz said in a tweet. PTI MZ PY PY PY
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