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PR Short Notes


Photo Source: Dawn

Pakistan Reader# 639, 10 August 2023

National Assembly is dissolved. What next for Pakistan?



In all, the PDM had a “mixed” impact on the country.

Genesy Balasingam

Accepting the recommendation from the Prime Minister, the President of Pakistan, Arif Alvi dissolved the National Assembly three days before its tenure expired.
 
The government has not finalised the caretaker prime minister who would lead the interim set-up till the general elections. Sharif is set to meet the opposition leader today and evolve a consensus on the name of the interim prime minister, according to the constitution (Articles 224 and 224A). There have been numerous names proposed, but the PDM could not reach a consensus so far.
 
In case of no agreement on any name within three days, the matter would be referred to a parliamentary committee, failing which the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) will have two days to choose. Pakistan will have a maximum of eight days before the new caretaker prime minister takes office. However, till the appointment of the caretaker prime minister, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif as well as provincial chief ministers, will continue in office.
 
Second, conducting the elections and finalising the date. One of the major challenges in the conduct of elections within 90 days from the dissolution of the national assembly is the mandatory new delimitations. The ECP would require more than four months to carry out a fresh delimitation exercise considering the revision of electoral rolls, thereby furthering the election date.
 
Third, the PDM’s legacy question. On 10 August, PM Shebaz in his farewell speech considered it as the most difficult time in his 38-year political career with 16 months of political turmoil, economic meltdown, and alarming ceding of parliamentary space. PDM’s political journey received an amalgam of both good and bad and confused criticisms. As he took the floor of the House to deliver a fiery speech, he was met with different accusations of the outgoing government's performance as well as the unjust imposition of taxes on the people. In response, the Prime Minister was reflective and thankful to everyone who helped and directed his government.
 
Endnote: PDM’s legacy as “mixed” says an editorial by The News International
On 10 August, The News International in an editorial provided an analysis of the Pakistan Democratic Movement’s term of rule under Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, outlining the activities that it would be remembered for. The best way to sum it up is “a mix of some good, some bad, a lot confused.” Its major achievements include securing the IMF deal, strengthening external relations through Bilawal Bhutto, progressing on CPEC, and tackling large floods. However, these are balanced out by a considerable number of failures, including concerns over excessive media censorship paired with controversial cyber laws, “economic mismanagement” brought on by internal disagreements, and “bulldozed legislation in parliament,” which showcased how politics was still conducted traditionally. In all, the PDM had a “mixed” impact on the country.

References
(“PDM legacy,” The News International, 10 August 2023; 
Election odyssey begins as president dissolves NA,” The Express Tribune, 10 August 2023; 
PM terms 16-month tenure ‘most difficult test’,” Dawn, 10 August 2023; 
Syed Irfan Raza, “Sun sets on the Shehbaz regime,” Dawn, 10 August 2023; 
Zebunnisa Burki, Explainer: “PM Shehbaz, CMs continue till caretaker setup appointed,” The News International, 10 August 2023)

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