Former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan declared Saturday that his party will dissolve two provincial assemblies next Wednesday, earlier than planned, to increase pressure on the federal government for early general elections.
Since being removed from power by a parliamentary vote, Khan has been campaigning for snap elections. This has increased political uncertainty in South Asia as the country struggles to avoid financial default.
Khan’s party holds two of four national provincial assemblies. Two of the country’s four provincial assemblies are under Khan’s control. The federal government is controlled by Prime Minister Shehbaz Shirif. His political rivals also hold that office. They have stated they won’t be holding local and national elections before November 2023.
Khan spoke to a crowd of supporters at Lahore’s eastern city while declaring, “Next Friday (Dec. 23,) we will dissolve both the Punjab and Khyber–Pakhtunkhwa assembly.”
The most populous and nearly half-million-strong province of Punjab is controlled by Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party (PTI).
A new constitutional crisis could result from the dissolution of the country.
In general elections every five years, the polls for both the federal and the provincial governments have been held simultaneously. Separate polls for the provincial assemblies would be required if they were to dissolve earlier. This could lead to legal issues.
Khan was hurt in an assassination attempt last month and said that he would “sacrifice” the two province governments for the nation’s sake.
The election in these two provinces would require polling in 66% of country. Therefore, the government may as well conduct general elections.