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Imran Khan prepares to form govt as opposition demands ‘transparent’ re-election

Contacts leaders of different parties and independent candidates; PTI says it has clinched 137 National Assembly seats, needs 172 seats in all to form government



Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan started preparations on Friday to form of his party’s government as he contacted leaders of different parties and independent candidates.

Dawn reported that PTI leader Jehangir Tarin made telephonic contacts with Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, the head of a faction of Muttahidda Qaumi Movement (MQM).

Karachi-based MQM has won six seats.

A multi-party meeting called by Muttahidda Majlis-i-Amal (MMA) leader and JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rahman in Islamabad on Friday to devise a joint strategy over alleged vote rigging, meanwhile, rejected the poll results and demanded “transparent” re-election. The MQM faction and the PPP did not participate in the conference. The meeting was chaired by Rehman and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz president Shehbaz Sharif.

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According to a Dawn report, PTI spokesman Fawad Chaudhry claimed that PTI had clinched 137 seats of the National Assembly out of 270 and, therefore, it would easily form its government. He also claimed that the number of PTI’s successful candidates in Punjab was 130, while the number of PML-N seats according to unofficial results of the polls, is said to be 127.

“We will definitely form our government in Punjab as we are in contact with 21 independent candidates,” the PTI leader said.

When asked who will be the next chief ministers of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, he said the matter would be decided by Imran Khan, adding that PTI was in a position to form a coalition government in Balochistan too.

Pakistan’s National Assembly comprises a total of 342 members, of which 272 are directly elected. A party can only form the government if it manages to clinch 172 seats in total.

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On Friday, PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif reiterated his party’s allegations the polls had been “stolen” and the “tainted and dubious” results would cast a “bad impact” on the country’s politics, according to a number of his party leaders who visited the Adiala jail in Rawalpindi to meet him.

PML-N chief Shahbaz Sharif‘s request for recounting of votes in NA-249 constituency was rejected by the returning officer concerned on Friday.

Later in the day, the multi-party meeting called to devise a joint strategy over alleged rigging in the general elections rejected the results of the poll, demanding a “transparent” re-election. The meeting was attended by Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) chief Senator Sirajul Haq, Sindh Governor Mohammad Zubair, Awami National Party chief Asfandyar Wali Khan, Qaumi Watan Party chairman Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao, National Party’s Senator Mir Hasil Bizenjo and several MMA leaders.

Mutahidda Majlis-e-Amal Pakistan (MMAP), an alliance of rightwing religious parties like Jamat-i-Islami and Jamiat Uleme-i-Islam Fazal, has clinched 13 seats while Pakistan Muslim League of former Punjab chief minister Pervaiz Elahi won four in the parliamentary polls.

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In his first speech that was broadcast live via video link on Thursday, Khan had claimed victory in the elections and said he was ready to probe allegations of rigging in the polls.

In the 342-member National Assembly, the PTI’s strength will cross 160 after acquiring 29 women’s reserved seats and 4 or 5 reserved seats for minorities, according to experts.

Khan’s ally PML-Q has won five seats and it can also have one seat reserved for women. Sheikh Rasheed of the Awami Muslim League is already supporting Imran Khan.

Some independents are in talks with PTI and they are likely to extend their support to Khan, helping him attain the figure of 173, they said. Some smaller Baloch parties could also support him.

The elections for the parliament and four provincial assemblies were held on Wednesday and the announcement of the results has been marred by delays in transportation of results from polling stations to centralised election offices.

On Friday, Imran Khan chaired a meeting of the top PTI leaders at his Bani Gala residence where possible Cabinet names were discussed.

The poll results showed that PML-N was leading in Punjab — the most populous province — with 129 seats in the house of 297, but fell short of a majority. The PTI with 123 seats is negotiating with independents, most of whom parted ways with the PML-N before the polls and contested independently.

The independents with 29 seats are the third largest group and will play a crucial role in government formation in a province ruled by the PML-N for the last two terms from 2008-2018.

Khan’s ally PML-Q has got seven seats in the province.

In the 297-member House, 149 seats are required to form the government. The PTI has already announced to form the government in Punjab, a move which may lead to allegations of horse trading.

In Sindh assembly, the PPP has got a clear majority by winning 75 seats in the house of 131, followed by the PTI (23) and the MQM (16).

In Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, the PTI has won a two-thirds majority by bagging 65 seats in the assembly of 99 members.

In Balochistan, the newly-formed Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) is on top with 15 seats but failed to get a majority in the House of 51 members.

(With PTI)