Veteran politician Maulana Fazlur Rehman has been working hard to remove Imran Khan from the post of Prime Minister of Pakistan. He has also succeeded in that movement. Imran was ousted from power by a coalition of a few parties believing in different ideologies. Later, Muslim League leader Shahbaz Sharif became the Prime Minister. But since then, dissent in the ruling coalition has been growing. In the beginning there was a problem with the ministry, now there is a dispute over the election day.
Imran Khan has been talking about mid-term elections since before he was ousted. Maulana Fazlur Rehman, now head of the ruling coalition Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), has made the same demand.
In a speech to leaders and activists of his party Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazlur (JUI-F) in Islamabad this week, Fazlur Rehman said the new government should not last more than a year. According to him, in this new setup, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam has its own identity in Jamiat and telling them (alliance partners), we still want immediate elections.
Pointing to Imran Khan, Fazlur Rehman said, “Even though he is gone and we have packed him up, it is our responsibility to return to the people the deposit for which we have been fighting for so long.”
The JUI-F chief has proposed necessary legal reforms to allay fears among coalition partners about possible electoral fraud and the voting system. There is a limit to the opportunities, he said. Islam will not hold power in the Jamiat Ulama unnecessarily.
However, the government of Shahbaz and his party Muslim League do not agree with this demand of Fazlur Rehman. On Friday, Maryam Aurangzeb, Pakistan’s new information minister and PML-N leader, said there would be no election unless the government’s term expires.
Shahbaz Sharif announced the new cabinet just hours after Maulana Fazlur Rehman presented his demand or suggestion for by-elections on April 18. However, there is disagreement among the alliance partners about what that cabinet will look like.
Although Maulana Fazlur Shahbaz did not join the cabinet, his party demanded the presidency and expressed frustration over plans to give one ministry each to Awami National Party (ANP) and independent MP Mohsin Dawar.
Maulana Fazlur Rehman also expressed dissatisfaction with Asif Ali-Zardari, co-chairperson of the PPP, one of the main allies of the ruling coalition, and questioned why the two ministries were given to the parties or individuals who fought against the JUI-F.
Earlier, Zardari had announced that the PPP would not join the new cabinet until the allies had made arrangements.
The term of the current government of Pakistan will end on 13 August 2023. If the government stays in power till then, national elections will be held within the next 60 days. And before that, if the parliament is dissolved, Pakistan has a provision to hold elections within 90 days from that day.