Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah on Monday said the assemblies could be dissolved earlier than the scheduled date of August 13 to “facilitate” the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

If the assemblies get dissolved on August 11 instead of August 13, the ECP will get more time — 90 days — to hold elections, he said while speaking on Geo News programme ‘Aaj Shahzeb Khanzada Kay Sath’ in reply to a question about the ruling party looking to delay elections till November.

However, he added that the 90-day period did not mean the ECP would hold elections on the 90th day but could do so at any date of its choosing, “be it after 64 days or 72 days”.

Nevertheless, he assured, “the assemblies will be dissolved after completing their term, after which the caretaker setup will come and elections will be held in accordance with the Constitution”.

He asserted that the PML-N and its supremo, Nawaz Sharif, were clear that assemblies should dissolve and elections be held on time.

Asked whether the intention behind delaying the dissolution of assemblies was to “facilitate the ECP or politics” so that verdicts were issued in cases against the PTI chief and Nawaz got time for the election campaign after his expected return before the polls, Sanaullah said, “I don’t think the difference of 20 to 30 days makes much of a difference”.

“We have been managing matters according to constitutional requirements,” he added.

Sanaullah’s statement comes as the final 30-day countdown to the end of the current parliament’s term and the government’s tenure is set to begin this week as the term of the National Assembly, along with the provincial assemblies of Sindh and Balochistan, is set to expire on August 12.

Following the dissolution of the assemblies, a caretaker setup will take over government affairs in Islamabad, Karachi and Quetta.

Similar interim administrations are already in place in Lahore and Peshawar, since the dissolution of the Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa assemblies months ahead of their term-end in January.

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