ISLAMABAD, July 29 (PTI): Imran Khan will be sworn in as Pakistan’s new Prime Minister before the country’s Independence Day on August 14, his party has announced as it is trying to reach out to smaller parties and independents to form the next government.
The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), led by 65-year-old Khan, has emerged as the single largest party in the National Assembly (NA) after the July 25 elections, but it is still short of numbers to form the government on its own.
PTI leader Naeenul Haq told media last night that consultations are on to complete the number game.
“We have done our homework and he will take oath as Prime Minister before August 14,” Haq said.
According to the results announced by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), the PTI has won 116 seats.
Jailed former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) with 64 seats and former president Asif Ali Zardari’s Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) with 43 seats are placed at number two and three respectively, it said.
Pakistan’s NA – the lower house of Parliament – comprises a total of 342 members, of which 272 are directly elected. A party needs 172 seats to form the government.
Meanwhile, the claims of vote-rigging also gatherd steam in Pakistan as five empty ballot boxes and over a dozen papers have been found by the roadside in Karachi and Sialkot, raising suspicion over the poll body’s claims of having conducted free and fair general elections.
Political activities are at full swing and parties are holding open meetings and secret parleys to arrange the political chessboard.
Pakistan’s two major parties, the PPP and the PML-N, are expected to meet in a couple of days to devise a joint strategy in a bid to give a tough time to the PTI in Parliament, Dawn news reported.
The Pakistani electronic media yesterday kept on mentioning names of possible candidates for key government offices and possible members of the federal cabinet.
The PTI leaders who have won more than one seat will have to vacate additional seats as the law allows an individual to retain only one seat. PTI chairman Khan has won five seats and he will have to vacate four seats.
Ghulam Sarwar Khan of Taxila has also won two NA seats by defeating former interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan and he will also have to vacate one seat.
Former chief minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Pervez Khattak has won both NA and provincial assembly seats.
If the PTI decides to nominate him again for the office of the chief minister, he will also have to vacate the NA seat which means that the party’s seats will be reduced to 109.
It was after these calculations that the PTI leadership has now decided to reach out to other smaller groups and independents since the party has already declared that it will not join hands with the PPP and the PML-N, the daily said.
The Dawn reported that former secretary general of the PTI Jahangir Tareen had established contacts with independents and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) which has won six seats. Thirteen independents have also won.
If the PTI obtains support of the GDA, MQM-P, PML-Q and the Awami Muslim League, the number of its seats will become 122.
Other parties which will have representation in the NA are the Balochistan National Party-Mengal (BNP-M) with three members, and Jamhoori Watan Party, Awami National Party and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaniyat with one seat each.
Though the PPP and the PML-N have also rejected the elections results, sources in the two parties told Dawn that they would not support the Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal (MMA)’s call for boycotting the oath-taking session of the National Assembly.
“We have decided to play the role of an aggressive opposition in parliament,” said a senior PML-N leader who had participated in the MMA-convened multiparty conference in Islamabad on Friday.
A senior leader of the PPP said so far they had not finalised any strategy for the elections of key parliamentary offices. PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari yesterday formed a committee to engage with political parties to discuss the way forward in the post-poll scenario.
The sources said contact had been established between the PPP and the PML-N and the leaders of the two sides were expected to hold a meeting in a few days.