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Both PM Imran Khan and his ministers are trying to give the impression that everything is fine.Islamabad: Pakistan’s Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid on Saturday said that he has advised Prime Minister Imran Khan to call elections after presenting the budget, claiming that the cricketer-turned politician’s popularity had increased following the Opposition’s submission of a no-trust motion against him.Mr Rashid, however, said that the idea for early elections after presenting the federal budget for fiscal year 2022-23 was his own “opinion” and should not be taken as the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf ‘s stance, the Dawn newspaper reported.Addressing a press conference in Islamabad, Mr Rashid said that he has advised Prime Minister Khan to call elections after presenting the federal budget, which is presented each year weeks before the end of fiscal year on June 30.This is the second time in a week that Mr Rashid has advocated for snap polls to end the ongoing political crisis.On Thursday, Mr Rashid had said that early elections can be held in the country to end the current political uncertainty due to the no-trust motion against Prime Minister Khan. The next general election is due by late 2023.No Pakistani Prime Minister has ever completed a full five-year term in office.Talking to reporters in Islamabad on Saturday, Mr Rashid said that voting on the no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Khan can be held on April 3 or 4.He said that he was giving the likely dates for vote on the presumption that the motion of no-trust would be presented in the National Assembly on March 28.”The voting is held between three to seven days after the motion is tabled,” he said.Mr Rashid termed the Opposition “foolish” for submitting the no-trust motion against Prime Minister Khan and said that the move has taken the prime minister to a level of popularity where “it is the right time to go for early elections.” “I’m asking for early elections after presenting a good budget because this incompetent Opposition has allowed us to win again. When the Pakistani nation sees their (Opposition leaders) faces, they switch channels,” he said.”This is the same Shehbaz (Sharif) who says (former Prime Minister) Nawaz (Sharif) greatly respects (Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed) Bajwa and the Army. Where did ‘vote ko izzat do’ go? The vote has been sold at shops, they have insulted democracy,” Mr Rashid said, referring to Sharif’s earlier rhetoric of attacking the Army chief for allegedly ousting him from power.He said that if needed, the interior ministry could also summon the army under Article 245 of the Constitution after approval from the prime minister and his cabinet. The remarks by the interior minister come as both the government and the opposition were making claims about their success in the vote of confidence.Pakistan has been on the edge since Opposition parties on March 8 submitted the no-confidence motion before the National Assembly Secretariat, alleging that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf government led by Prime Minister Khan was responsible for the economic crisis and the spiralling inflation in the country.PM Khan, 69, is heading a coalition government and he can be removed if some of the partners decide to switch sides.He is facing a rebellion by his about two dozen lawmakers and allied parties which are also reluctant to pledge support to him.Both PM Khan and his ministers are trying to give the impression that everything was fine and he would come out victorious out of the trial.The PTI has 155 members in the 342-member National Assembly and needs at least 172 lawmakers on its side to remain in the government. (Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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