- Imran Khan’s party in comfortable position to rule Centre, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan amid protests against results
- PML-N and PPP to sit in opposition in National Assembly, as PPP retains Sindh
- PTI ropes in 5 independent candidates in Punjab as going gets tough for PML-N
ISLAMABAD/LAHORE: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan opened coalition talks with at least one smaller party and independent politicians on Saturday, a spokesman said, following the announcement of full results of an election disputed by rivals.
The PTI scooped up 16.86 million votes in a better-than-expected performance, trouncing the party of jailed former premier Nawaz Sharif, which finished second with 12.89 million votes in the general elections 2018 that were held on Wednesday.
PTI’s 115 seats put Imran Khan short of the 137 required for an assembly majority, meaning he is likely to need a multi-party coalition with religious parties and independents to form a government.
Without the required majority, the PTI is relying on independents as well as parties, like the PML-Q, Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) and Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA) in addition to its natural ally, Sheikh Rasheed.
There are also reports of a possible alliance with MQM-Pakistan (MQM-P) which has six seats in the house. PTI won’t find allies in PPP and PTI because of the bitter rivalry.
Commenting on the intense politicking prevailing in the wake of the Imran’s victory, PTI officials said the party was in talks with independent candidates and other at least one other political party to form a coalition government.
“We are pretty much there in the National Assembly… talks are going on with MQM as well,” said PTI leader Faisal Javed Khan. Party spokesperson Fawad Chaudhry corroborated the claims, saying, the PTI has garnered support of at least eight independently elected candidates in the lower house of the parliament.
In a news conference, PTI senior leader Naeemul Haque told reporters that the party would form a government in Pakistan’s most populous province of Punjab as well and there would “good news” by Sunday. He added that Khan was expected to take the oath as prime minister around August 14, which is Pakistan’s Independence Day.
According to provisional results data shared by the ECP, the election watchdog has received all results of 270 national assembly seats, 295 Punjab assembly, 129 Sindh assembly, 97 Khyber Pakhtunkhwa assembly and 50 Balochistan assembly seats.
Sharing the details of party position, the agencies quoting ECP official said that in all results of National Assembly seats, PTI was leading with 115 seats, whereas PML-N and PPP have secured 64 seats and 43 seats respectively.
He added that Khan was expected to take the oath as prime minister around August 14, which is Pakistan’s Independence Day.
PML-N SLIGHTLY BETTER IN PUNJAB:
Out of a total of 295 seats in the Punjab Assembly, the PML-N clinched 129 and PTI won 123 seats. PML-Q bagged seven seats while the PPP clinched six seats and the Pakistan Awami Raj got one seat. Independent candidates won 29 seats.
The PTI and PML-N are in a neck and neck contest to form a government in the province as both have been vying to woo independents to gain the required majority.
In a meeting held at Imran’s Bani Gala residence, the PTI chief was assured by the party leadership of having complete numbers to form the government.
Fawad Chaudhary, the PTI spokesperson, said five independent candidates have agreed to support the party in Punjab Assembly. The five independent candidates who have agreed to support the party in Punjab reached Islamabad from Multan through a special aircraft along with PTI’s Jahangir Tareen.
As PTI’s chances look bright in Punjab, its latest additions include Syed Alamdar Qureshi from Muzaffargarh, Basharat Randhawa from Layyah, Hussain Jahanian Gardezi from Khanewal and Masood Gillani.
PPP RETAINS SINDH
Out of total 129 seats, PPP leads on with 76 while PTI—which is likely to head opposition in the province—is in the second with 23 seats. Once a strong political force to reckon with, the MQM-P managed to win 16 seats only, owing to internal splits and poor performance.
Newly-formed GDA clinched 11 seats and firebrand Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) won two seats. MMA could only manage to win one seat in the provincial assembly.
KP RETAINS PTI:
Out of 97-strong assembly, PTI managed to win 65 seats, the MMA got 10 seats, Awami National Party (ANP) clinched six seats and the PML-N bagged five seats. The PPP won four seats while six independent candidates will also enter the provincial assembly.
BAP AND PTI EYE JOINT RULE IN BALOCHISTAN:
It seems newly-formed party of electables—BAP—will form the government in the province with PTI’s help as both parties have secured 15 and four seats, respectively, in the 50-member house. Five independently elected candidates are likely to join the coalition government.
Similarly, MMA got nine seats, Balochistan National Party (Mengal) got six seats, PTI got four seats, Balochistan National Party (Awami) obtained three seats, Hazara Democratic Party won two seats, ANP got three seats, PML-N, Jamhori Wattan Party and Pashtoonkhwa Milli Awami Party got one seat each.
‘RIGGING’ AND DELAYS:
The poll has been marred by long delays in counting and complaints of rigging by the PML-N. Some of the smaller religious parties are threatening street protests if the poll is not re-run.
The PTI chief has offered to investigate any claims of irregularities in the wake of Wednesday’s poll, which the PML-N and several other parties allege was skewed in favour of the former cricketer by Pakistan’s powerful military establishment.
Though the monitoring group have termed the general election ‘credible’, European Union observers were critical of the political climate in the run-up to the vote, saying there was not a level playing field. The United States voiced similar concerns.
Additional input from agencies