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Imran Khan to be sworn in as PM before August 14, his party says

Imran Khan’s party, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, has won 115 general seats. A PTI leader said consultations are on to complete the number game as a party can only form government if it manages to secure 172 seats in total.

world Updated: Jul 29, 2018 20:00 IST
Imtiaz Ahmad
Imtiaz Ahmad
Islamabad
Imran Khan,Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf,Pakistan elections
A big poster of Imran Khan, head of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party, at a market in Islamabad on July 28.(AP Photo)

As efforts to form a coalition government at the centre and in the Punjab province gained momentum, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party announced that Imran Khan would be sworn in as prime minister before August 14 — the country’s independence day.

PTI office-bearers have claimed that they have been able to muster up the required number of MPs for a vote of confidence in Parliament in the coming week. Many of the MPs are independent candidates, while some smaller parties have also expressed their desire to join the PTI-led coalition.

The party inched a little closer to its target of forming a government in Punjab province after it managed to bring four of 28 of independent members of the provincial assembly into its fold.

“PTI is in touch with other independently elected MNAs (members of National Assembly) and MPAs (members of provincial assembly). Soon, most of them will join PTI,” Naeemul Haque, the spokesperson for the PTI chief, said. He said the nation would hear “good news” about the formation of government in Punjab.

PTI is in a better position to form a government in the largest province of the country because one of its allies, the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q), won as many as seven seats. An independent MPA from Mandi, Bahauddin Sajid Ahmad Khan Bhatti, opted to join PML-Q on Thursday, increasing the party’s total strength to eight.

Similarly, other ‘like-minded’ parties, including the Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) and Jamshed Dasti’s Pakistan Awami Raj Party also won two seats.

However, negotiations with the PML-Q are in a deadlock over demands that its candidate be named chief minister of the province.

Meanwhile, allegations of rigging in the elections continued, despite the insistence of the Election Commission that the exercise had been free and fair. The governor of Sindh province, Muhammad Zubair, resigned on Sunday as he expressed serious concerns over the fairness of the elections, alleging that the polls were “managed” to secure victory for a particular political party.

Addressing a press conference in Karachi, Zubair said although he wasn’t required to resign after the elections, he had done so because as per democratic traditions, the new federal government should have the authority to appoint the governors of its choice.

Zubair, who is a member of Nawaz Sharif’s PML-N party, expressed reservations over the manner in which the elections were conducted, stating them as other reasons that led him to step down. “The responsibility for counting (votes) was (that) of election commission’s officers and polling agents. It was not the responsibility of any other department to sit there and count and dictate how the counting would be done and result would be disclosed,” he said.

Interestingly. most news channels stopped showing his speech after he made allegations against the military.

In another development, a dozen ballot papers and as many as five empty ballot boxes were found by the roadside in Karachi and Sialkot, fuelling further suspicion about the transparency of the elections.

According to an electoral candidate in Karachi, about a dozen ballot papers were found in a garbage dump near the Qayyumabad area of the city. In Sialkot, local people found five empty ballot boxes near the city’s Kashmir Park in the Cantonment area late on Friday night. Police said that some unidentified people had thrown the empty ballot boxes.

First Published: Jul 29, 2018 14:40 IST