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Imran Khan willing to discuss early polls with PM Shehbaz Sharif, says senior Pakistani lawmaker

Head of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Imran Khan. File.

Head of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Imran Khan. File. | Photo Credit: AFP

Pakistan's former Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed has claimed that ousted premier Imran Khan is ready to discuss the holding of early elections with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, as he made a strong case for clearing "misunderstandings" between the ruling and opposition parties.

Mr. Rashid, who heads the Awami National League-Pakistan, is a key alliance partner of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI).

PTI activists are set to launch a mega-march to the federal capital, Islamabad, from all corners of the country at the end of the month, demanding dates of early elections, Dawn News reported.

Mr. Rashid said the demonstrations should be limited to convincing the Election Commission of Pakistan to hold early polls and no other state institution should be attacked.

"I have started efforts yesterday to remove misunderstanding between them (PTI and the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz),” Mr. Rashid was quoted in an article published in VOA News on Monday.

“I am in favour of peace with the Army, but in case of ‘war’ I will stand by Imran Khan,” Mr. Rashid said.

He said Mr. Khan was ready to hold talks with the Sharif government for early general elections, but it required the guarantee of “powerful quarters'', an indirect reference to the powerful military establishment.

Imran Khan, 69, the country’s 22nd Prime Minister, was unceremoniously removed from office through a no-confidence vote in early April, becoming the first premier in Pakistan's history to be ousted through a no-trust motion.

PML-N leader Shehbaz Sharif, 70, assumed the office of the prime minister on April 11. The term of the current House ends in August, 2023.

However, PTI lawmakers have demanded early elections in view of scores of Members of National Assembly changing political loyalties this year.


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Printable version | Jun 22, 2022 4:51:49 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/imran-khan-willing-to-discuss-early-polls-with-pm-shehbaz-sharif-says-senior-pakistani-lawmaker/article65378201.ece