Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party will not join forces with rival PML-N or the PPP to form a coalition government and would sit in opposition despite its majority in the newly elected Parliament, the leader said of the party, lawyer Gohar Ali Khan. .
Independent candidates, mostly affiliated with Khan's PTI, won the largest number of parliamentary seats in last week's general elections. However, the PTI does not have enough seats in the 266-member National Assembly to form a government on its own.
“We don't feel comfortable with both (Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and Pakistan People's Party). There will be no discussion with anyone to form a government or to form a government with them. It is better to sit in opposition than form a government [with them]but we think we have the majority,” Gohar Khan told Dawn News.
The Election Commission of Pakistan announced that independent candidates, majority supported by the PTI, secured 101 seats, followed by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) with 75 seats, the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) with 54 seats, and Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) won 17 seats.
The other parties obtained 17 seats while the result of one constituency was retained.
Although the PTI initially claimed to form the government, its chances looked bleak from the start as at least 169 seats, out of 336 in the House, were needed to form the government.
In total, 266 seats are directly contested while 60 seats reserved for women and 10 minority seats are allocated on the basis of proportional representation to the winning parties.
As the PTI was not allowed to contest as a single party with a common symbol, it was not qualified to get the reserved seats.
The party therefore decided to sit on the opposition benches, leaving room for the PML-N and PPP and others to form a coalition, Gohar said, adding that the PTI would form a strong opposition.
Gohar also denounced all politicians who switched loyalties in the past, saying they were roundly rejected by the people in the February 8 elections.
He said the party was studying the issue of PTI-backed independent Waseem Qadir joining the PML-N led by former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
“The rest of the independent candidates are in contact with us and will remain with us,” he said.
He said party founder and former Prime Minister Imran Khan had given instructions to form governments in Central, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab provinces.
“We will not stay outside or sit outside the assemblies. We need to sit in Parliament and find solutions to all the problems present there,” he said, apparently making a veiled reference to the party's 2014 sit-in outside Parliament as well as their decision to disband the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab assemblies in 2023 to force early elections. .
Meanwhile, talks began between the two main parties for a coalition government shortly after the results were published.
Sources said that so far several open and secret meetings have taken place between PML-N and PPP leaders and other parties.
“The main obstacle is who will lead the government, as both parties are pushing forward their candidates, but after much discussion, some sort of common ground may emerge,” according to a PML-N leader.
A PPP leader said his party was not withdrawing its demand that Bilawal Bhutto Zardari should become prime minister because he was supported for the post by the PPP Central Executive Committee (CEC) even before the elections.
An independent source said a new formula for dividing the five-year term between the two parties was being discussed and could be acceptable to both groups.
“It has been proposed that a PML-N candidate should serve as prime minister for three years and as PPP leader for two years,” the source said, adding that it was not yet decided who would get the first term.
The PPP CEC is expected to meet later on Monday where various proposals based on the discussion with the PML-N will be considered and some sort of decision will be taken, the source said.
On a related note, the PML-N is also considering fielding Shehbaz Sharif as its prime ministerial candidate in place of Nawaz Sharif who was set to become prime minister for a record fourth time but had to change his position. 'opinion because he was not interested in leading a coalition government.
The political machinery has entered an interesting phase and the shape of the new setup is expected to be decided in the coming days.
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