PML-N’s London huddle agrees on not holding early elections

LONDON: Amid confusion within the coalition government over the time of the next general elections, the PML-N’s London huddle decided that there will be no early polls, The News reported.

The prime minister, along with his key cabinet members and party leaders, flew to London to meet PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif on Wednesday where detailed discussions were held on the prevailing economic and political situation in the country.

The insiders of the meeting said that the incumbent government would focus on providing economic relief to the masses and take tough economic decisions which would serve in the long term.

Sources said that Nawaz sought suggestions on early elections and various other affairs during the meeting that continued for over six hours at an undisclosed location in London. “Everyone agreed on implementing the economic agenda first and then announcing the time of elections after consultation with coalition partners,” they shared.

Speaking to The News after the meeting, Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb told that PM Shehbaz and ministers in his delegation presented a full report on Pakistan’s socio-economic and political situation to Nawaz Sharif.

Moreover, the meeting briefed the party chief on the government’s agenda and planning, she added.

Aurangzeb further stated that the PML-N and its coalition partners had inherited the worst kind of economic situation from the PTI government and the meeting reviewed the huge suffering of people as a result of the policies of the previous government. She said the meeting deliberated upon the IMF conditions and how the people of Pakistan were affected by them.

The minister informed that the huddle discussed the constitutional violations that took place between 3-12 April by the PTI leaders and which still continued in Punjab. She said the final decisions would be taken in the second and last sessions, which would take place on Thursday and then formal announcements would be made.

When asked why these issues could not be discussed virtually and why the whole government was visiting London, Aurangzeb said there was nothing surprising in the London meeting.

“Nawaz Sharif is our Quaid. Meeting between Nawaz Sharif and Shehbaz Sharif was long overdue. We have inherited today’s Pakistan in a written-off situation and we needed to review the whole situation to formulate a plan. This was a private delegation.”

When asked about the early elections, she said that the current government’s “mandate is till next year and we are here to give relief to the people of Pakistan. It’s the history of Nawaz Sharif to take Pakistan out of economic crisis and if there is one person who can deliver, that’s Shehbaz Sharif. Only the PML-N has the right strategy.”

In a separate discussion with Geo News, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif said that the party is ready to take difficult decisions to manage the worsening economic situation. Agreeing with the anchorperson about the cost of delaying the decisions, the minister said the government is aware of the country’s financial problems and fully geared up to address these challenges.

Protest in London

Outside Hasan Nawaz Sharif’s office, a large number of PML-N and PTI activists gathered and faced off each other for two hours. The PTI’s UK wing gave the call to protest to condemn PM Shehbaz Sharif’s visit, while PML-N announced holding a counter-demonstration to welcome the prime minister.

Both sides raised slogans in support of their leadership and also abused each other. The protest continued for two hours amid heavy downpours and then ended peacefully.

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