The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Monday has proposed July 25-27 as possible dates for the upcoming General Election, Radio Pakistan reported.

The ECP forwarded a summary in this regard to President Mamnoon Hussain requesting him to set one of the proposed dates as the day of the polls according to Elections Act 2017, Section 57(1).

The announcement comes just days before the term of the sitting PML-N government is set to expire on May 31.

Consultations regarding candidates for the post of caretaker prime minister are also ongoing.

Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi held a meeting with Oppo­sition Leader Khursheed Shah regarding the matter last week.

A final meeting is expected to take place on Tuesday. Prior to the meeting, Abbasi met PML-N leaders Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif at Jati Umrah on Sunday to discuss candidates for the post.

A close aide to Nawaz Sharif and a senior PML-N leader told Dawn earlier that the meeting was of the view that it did not make much difference whether the PML-N proposed a name for the caretaker prime minister “as everyone knows who would control him at the end of the day”.

“In such a situation there is a view in the party that it should not be keen in nominating someone for the slot,” he said, adding that if this view prevailed (in the party) either the opposition (PPP) nominee would get the nod of the PML-N or the matter might be referred to the ECP.

Another leader who was privy to the development told Dawn that Nawaz Sharif was not in favour of referring this matter to the ECP and wanted consensus.

He said the huddle also seriously pondered over accepting the nominee of the PPP for the caretaker premier. “It will not come as a surprise if Abbasi says yes to the name proposed by Shah for the caretaker premier,” he said, adding that the PML-N would at least be in a position to point a finger at the caretaker set-up if things went against it in the coming general elections.

Khursheed Shah has already said that he and the prime minister would finalise the name of the caretaker prime minister by Tuesday and announce it the same day.

A discussion on the matter between Abbasi and Shah a couple of days ago had lasted only 15 minutes and remained inconclusive.

If the prime minister and the opposition leader fail to reach a consensus on a candidate, they will have to make public three names each.

The list of the six nominees will be referred to a parliamentary committee, which will be formed by the NA speaker.



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