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NA to decide when to hold elections, says PM Shahbaz

While addressing the session of the national assembly on Thursday, PM Shehbaz rejected the six-days ultimatum given by PTI Chairman Imran Khan to announce fresh elections.

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PM Shahbaz Sharif stressed that the National Assembly will make the decision on whether or not or when to hold early elections. The premier said, while addressing the national assembly, that he will not take dictation from Imran Khan or be blackmailed. “I want to clarify to the leader of this group (PTI), your dictation won’t work. This house will decide when to hold elections”, said PM Shehbaz.

Read More: Why Pakistan must have immediate general elections?

“I can form a committee but dictation will not work and no group or party can be allowed to rebel against the Constitution”, PM Shehbaz offered to hold talks with the PTI leadership to resolve issues, an offer that was welcomed by PTI leader Asad Umar.

Earlier in the day, former Prime Minister Imran Khan issued a six-day ultimatum to the incumbent to dissolve assemblies and announce fresh elections. Imran Khan issued this ultimatum while addressing the ‘Azaadi March’ on Jinnah Avenue. He called off the protest for now but threatened to march again on Islamabad if his demands are not met.

PM Shehbaz rejected the ultimatum while addressing the lower house of the parliament, which today passed two major bills; one snatching the right of overseas Pakistanis to vote and other discarding the use of EVMs in the general elections.

Read More: NA passes bill disallowing overseas Pakistanis to vote, scraps use of EVMs

While most of the speech of PM Shehbaz comprised of criticizing former premier Imran Khan, he also said that he assumed the office of the Prime Minister with two goals in mind; fair and transparent elections and reviving economy. He congratulated the house for paving the way for “free and fair elections” through the legislation today and reaffirmed his resolve to revive the worsening economy.

In light of the current chain of events, many analysts are speculating a behind-the-scenes deal between PTI and the incumbent government. They believe that soon the government will announce the date for fresh elections. However, no official statement from either government of from PTI support these speculations.