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Pakistan President dissolves National Assembly, paves way for polls


Just three days before the completion of its five-year tenure, Pakistan President Arif Alvi dissolved the National Assembly shortly after a summary signed by Prime Shehbaz Sharif advising the dissolution of the Lower House of Parliament, was sent to the Presidency. A statement issued by the Presidency just before Thursday midnight read: “President Arif Alvi has dissolved the National Assembly under Article 58(1) on the advice of the Prime Minister.” The dissolution of the National Assembly, which elects the federal government, has brought an end to the Sharif-led coalition government, reports Xinhua news agency.

According to the Pakistani constitution, if the Assembly is terminated before its stipulated time, the general elections would be held within 90 days and if it completes its mandated period then the election will take place within 60 days. Following the end of the government, the Prime Minister will discuss with the opposition leader of the house to decide on a caretaker premier who will take charge until the next general elections. On his last day in power, Sharif on Wednesday chaired a meeting of the federal cabinet, made a farewell address in Parliament and chaired two separate meetings on overseas Pakistanis and the setting up of an ‘Olympic village’ in Islamabad, Dawn news reported.

Addressing the federal cabinet, he confirmed it was his government’s last day in power. The Prime Minister said the coalition government sacrificed their political capital for the sake of the country as they had a “gigantic task to save the motherland from looming default”. After the cabinet meeting, he went to the Parliament House to address the National Assembly. In his farewell speech in the Assembly, Sharif said he would start consultations on Thursday to decide about a caretaker Prime Minister within three days, who will choose his cabinet for three months or until the formation of the next elected government. Soon after the National Assembly’s late-night dissolution, troops were seen at different points in Islamabad. It wasn’t immediately clear whether the soldiers’ presence was because of security reasons or VIP movement.

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