With the PTI all set to march on Islamabad on May 25, the coalition government Monday decided that it will complete its tenure till August 2023 and the general elections would be held at the stipulated time next year. After extensive deliberation, PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif decided to continue running the government as he refused to dissolve the National Assembly amid political pressure and economic woes. The development comes a day after PTI Chairman and former premier Imran Khan announced that his party would kick off its much-hyped long march against the ‘imported government’ to the federal capital on May 25 to force it to call early elections. According to a media report quoting sources, the coalition allies were of the view that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) had already announced a date for the next elections and hence it was not possible to hold polls early. It was said that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif will chair an important meeting of the coalition parties on Wednesday in which the future course of action regarding the next general elections would be announced. The allies have also decided that PTI’s long march will be handled in a democratic way and they will not be allowed to hold a rally on Srinagar Highway in Islamabad. Instead, the PTI will be provided with a ground to hold a rally or stage sit-in as an alternative to Srinagar Highway. The coalition government hinted on Saturday that it was ready to walk away from power and take its case to the people if not allowed to freely rule the country and complete the remaining constitutional term. The threat to leave the government came from Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah against the backdrop of an ongoing stalemate between the PML-N-led coalition government and the powerful stakeholders of the country. “If we are stopped from working, our hands and feet are tied and reservations are expressed on our performance then those responsible should take the burden. Why should we take the responsibility when we are not responsible for destroying the economy,” the interior minister said, adding “We would approach the masses after discussing with the [government] allies”. Speculations were rife that the government would dissolve the assembly and go for fresh elections before the long march of PTI. The coalition government, however, decided otherwise. The PML-N led government has also decided to counter the long march strictly if the marchers resorted to unlawful activity. The government is reportedly considering accommodating PTI for the long march if the party intends to hold a rally and go back. However, if PTI plans to stage a sit-in and try to paralyze the system, the government will turn towards legal options to stop it. The government is in a fix as Pakistan’s economic situation gets worse due to rising fears that the country might go bankrupt if the International Monetary Fund (IMF) bailout programme is not revived. The Fund has demanded the government remove subsidies on petroleum products which is likely to increase inflation and the ruling parties are having parleys on the matter because it has a high political cost.