In a surprising turn of events, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has declared that his government will step down before completing its tenure. Speaking at a laptop distribution ceremony at the Government College Women’s University in Sialkot, PM Shehbaz announced that an interim government will take over next month. This statement contradicts his previous remarks, where he hinted at the government’s intention to serve its full term.
Earlier, PM Shehbaz had indicated that the coalition government’s tenure would end on August 14, and the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) would announce the date for the next elections in October or November. This suggested that the current rulers were not considering dissolving the National Assembly before its scheduled expiration.
In his address, PM Shehbaz highlighted that the recent decrease in petroleum prices, announced by the finance minister, was a result of an agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). He credited this agreement for strengthening the Pakistani rupee against the US dollar, consequently reducing the cost of oil purchases. The government, in turn, passed on this relief to the people by reducing the price of petroleum products.
The event also saw the distribution of laptops to students, with PM Shehbaz revealing plans to provide 100,000 machines in the fiscal year 2023-24. He expressed gratitude to Finance Minister Ishaq Dar for facilitating the import of laptops. Emphasizing that laptop distribution was based on merit, PM Shehbaz assured the nation’s girls that providing laptops was not a favor but a commitment to promoting education and empowerment.
PM Shehbaz further stated that Rs5 billion had been allocated for projects benefiting women this year. He stressed the importance of women’s participation in the nation’s progress, urging all educated girls to enter the practical field. He praised the global trend of women working alongside men and promised that if given another opportunity under the leadership of Nawaz Sharif, every girl would receive a laptop.
Addressing another event in Lahore, PM Shehbaz expressed his confidence in changing the destiny of the country by leading the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) to victory in the upcoming general elections. He urged the public to evaluate the performance of the PML-N governments versus that of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) over the past four years before making their decisions.
PM Shehbaz criticized the PTI, accusing them of corruption and fraudulent elections. He highlighted achievements such as ending load shedding, providing laptops and loans to youth, and initiating the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects during Nawaz Sharif’s three-time prime ministership. He alleged that the PTI’s tenure was marred by corruption scandals and misuse of funds.
The unexpected announcement by PM Shehbaz Sharif about the government stepping down early has sparked a new wave of political developments in Pakistan. The decision to form an interim government and the subsequent general elections will shape the future course of the country’s leadership. As the political landscape evolves, the focus remains on how this transition will impact governance and the aspirations of the Pakistani people.