Trouble mounts for Shehbaz govt as Imran party wins Punjab bypolls, Pak rupee hits all-time low

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister of Pakistan Shehbaz SharifThe coalition government suffered a combined blow when Prime Minister Imran was deposed Khan extending his request for a snap general election after his party’s resounding victory in Sunday’s key vote to 20 council seats in Punjab Provincial and national currencies fell to all-time lows against the US dollar in interbank trading on Monday.
As the government grapples with runaway inflation and an energy crisis, Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) suffered its heaviest defeat to the Pakistan-Nawaz Muslim League (PML-N) in Punjab. , is considered a stronghold for three times Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his family including his brother and current Prime Minister Shehbaz. Khan’s party won 15 seats, PML-N won four and one went to an independent.
“The only way forward from here is to hold fair and free elections under a credible ECP (election commission of Pakistan). Any other path will only lead to greater political instability and further economic chaos,” said Khan, who was sacked as Prime Minister after he lost a vote of confidence in parliament on 10 May. 4.
Prime Minister Malik Ahmad Khan’s spokesman told PTI news agency that the PML-N leadership will decide by consulting its allies on dissolving Parliament and calling early elections.
Demanding to hold elections ahead of time (polls will be in October 2023) is one of Khan’s main points of pressure on the Shehbaz-led coalition navigating a nation-state. worst economic pain. Khan said PML-N now has only one option: “call immediately for a new general election”.
Experts see the outcome of the vote as a forecast of deepening political uncertainty. They cite the slippage of the Pakistani currency against the dollar as an indicator. The dollar was sold for 215.25 Pakistani Rs on Monday — Rs 4.3 higher from Rs 210.95 last week.
The result in Punjab is a big blow for Prime Minister Sharif, PML-N leader, and his son Hamza Shehbaz all will lose their position as CM of Pakistan’s most populous province. Hamza’s chances of winning re-election for the position on July 22 hang by a thread.
Saad bin Naseer, director of Mettis Global, a web-based financial data and analytics portal, said the results of the analysis raised concerns about the future of the coalition government.
Analyst Komal Mansoor said the rupee had fallen due to Sunday’s election. “PTI’s victory raised doubts about the sustainability of the current government and sentiment turned negative again,” she said.
Until mid-April, Punjab was run by PTI and its alliance partners. After Khan’s government was removed that month, CM Usman Buzdar in his party resigned. The move paved the way for PML-N to put Hamza on CM with the support of two dozen dissident PTI legislators.
PTI has successfully petitioned the EC to unmask lawmakers who voted against the party and violated the country’s anti-defective laws. That left 20 seats in Punjab vacant for the vote to be held on Sunday.
Khan campaigned vigorously against his party’s supporters, drawing tens of thousands of people to his rallies. He accused the coalition government of conspiring with the powerful military and the United States removed him from office. People believe him, if the results are any indication. His “jihad” against the dynastic politics of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and former president Asif Ali Zardari further enhanced his image among the masses.
“If the new government is looking to advance its mandate, it has clearly failed to do so,” writes Michael Kugelman, an expert on South Asian affairs at the Wilson Center in Washington. “Now it’s stuck with a free-fall economy, it lacks public authorization, and it faces stiff opposition.”

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