ISLAMABAD: Both the major coalition partners, Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP) and Pakistan Muslim Legaue-Nawaz (PML-N), have agreed on a proposal to dissolve the National Assembly on August 8 — four days ahead of the completion of its tenure — sources informed Geo News Tuesday.
However, Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb took to her official Twitter handle, clarifying that the date of dissolution of the lower house of parliament has not been decided yet.
“The date [of dissolution] will be decided in consultation with the PDM and other allied parties. The decision on the date of dissolution of the National Assembly will be officially announced,” she added.
The five-year constitutional term of the incumbent National Assembly expires on August 12 at midnight — four days after the date on which both parties have reportedly agreed to dissolve the legislature.
According to the sources, August 9 and 10 also came under discussion, but it was decided to go for August 8 to avoid any hurdle in the early dissolution of the assembly.
As per the law, if the president doesn’t approve the summary, the assembly stands dissolved after 48 hours — giving the government enough time to achieve its target of premature dissolution.
“A general election to the National Assembly or a provincial assembly shall be held within a period of sixty days immediately following the day on which the term of the assembly is due to expire, unless the Assembly has been sooner dissolved,” Article 224 of the Constitution states.
However, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) is bound to hold the general polls within 90 days if the assembly is dissolved before its constitutional term, according to the Constitution’s Article 224(2).
“Next month, our government will complete its tenure. We will leave before the completion of our tenure and an interim government will come,” Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said at an event recently.
The PPP had earlier proposed that the assembly should be dissolved ahead of its constitutional term.
Caretaker prime minister’s appointment
Once the National Assembly is dissolved, the federal government will require a caretaker setup.
Article 224 of the Constitution explains the process of appointment of a caretaker government at the Centre and provinces.
Until the formation of a caretaker government, PM Shehbaz will continue his duties as the prime minister, albeit for a few days.
It is only incumbent National Assembly Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, out of all elected representatives, who will hold his position until the newly-elected lawmakers take an oath and elect his replacement.
For the formation of a caretaker government, PM Shehbaz will write to the leader of the opposition in the National Assembly, Raja Riaz, within 48 hours of the dissolution of the assembly, seeking three names for the caretaker prime minister and will suggest three names himself.
In case, an impasse between the two leaders lasts for three days on the nominee, the NA speaker will form a committee comprising six members of the outgoing assembly with equal representation from the treasury and the opposition.
To the committee, the prime minister and the leader of the opposition will forward two nominees each.
The committee then will have three days to evolve consensus on one name. If that fails as well, then the names of the nominees will be referred to the Election Commission of Pakistan for a final decision within two days.
The selected nominee will perform the duties as the interim PM until the formation of a new government in the Centre. The caretaker PM also has the power to induct cabinet members.