Pakistan

Nawaz directs PML-N to gear up for Punjab polls

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Finally, the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) is ready to contest elections as the PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif directed the party leadership on Saturday to start preparing for elections in Punjab just days after Punjab Chief Minister Pervaiz Elahi’s advice sealed the fate of the provincial assembly.

The development comes two days after CM Elahi, hours after regaining the confidence of a majority of lawmakers in Punjab Assembly, formally advised the governor to dissolve the provincial legislature.

The move capped weeks of speculation, legal wrangling and a public spectacle of the differences between the ruling allies in Punjab — the PTI and the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) — over whether the assembly would be disbanded or not.

The PML-N supremo’s decision to contest polls has come after he headed a consultative meeting of the party leadership in London wherein he instructed the party leaders to gear up for the upcoming elections in Punjab.

The details emerged after Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb tweeted that Nawaz has taken a “big decision” and ordered the party to get ready for elections in Punjab.

During the meeting, Nawaz also directed party president and the incumbent Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to establish a parliamentary board, saying the party should go for the elections with full preparation and confidence.

“Move ahead with full passion, confidence, preparation and strength,” Sharif directed the party leadership, hoping that PML-N would regain its lost political capital and emerge victorious. “God willing, PML-N will be victorious,” Nawaz was quoted as saying during the meeting.

The PML-N supremo took part in the meeting via video link which was also attended by party's senior vice president Maryam Nawaz.

Read more: ‘Caretaker set-up’ in Punjab soon

He expressed his pleasure over what he called "the end of an era of looters" in Punjab. "Punjab governor may dissolve the assembly… PML-N will return to Punjab with full force," he said.

Nawaz directed the party leaders and workers to fully prepare for the election and asked them to hold meetings on daily basis in this regard.

PML-N’s decision to contest the polls has come after PTI-PML-Q alliance forced elections on it by dissolving Punjab Assembly. Soon after taking the vote of confidence, the Punjab CM stunned the ruling alliance when he sent advice to the Punjab governor for the dissolution of the assembly.

It is for the first time the ruling party at the Centre has clearly conveyed that it is ready for the elections instead of taking the matter to courts or trying to come up with any other solution than going for elections.

PTI Chairman Imran Khan and his party has long been throwing the gauntlet to the rulers at the Centre to announce snap polls and resorted to every tactic in their playbook to force the same on them. Rallies, long marches and verbal threats didn’t work and, finally, the coalition in Punjab decided to dissolve the assembly.

Seeing that the PML-N has got itself labelled as a party running away from elections, a party leader said, the party leadership has decided to go for elections. PML-N leaders had earlier expressed that the party was ready for polls provided PTI-PML-Q alliance dissolves the assembly.

Now, when Punjab Assembly is dissolved and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa is on the verge of being dissolved, the PML-N has cleared the air and chosen elections over any other tactics to avert them. However, the PML-N leadership has so far decided to contest polls in Punjab only and ruled out calling general elections in the country.

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