New Delhi: Nawaz Sharif, the former Prime Minister of Pakistan, on Friday appealed to other political parties to come together and form a stable coalition government to restore Pakistan, saying all institutions should cooperate to help the country overcome its challenges. Sharif, who served as the premier three times, spoke to his supporters of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) at the party’s headquarters in Lahore. He said his party respects the verdict of all parties, including the independent candidates who are backed by the imprisoned former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s party.
He said it was necessary for all the political parties to join hands and form a government to bring Pakistan out of its troubles. “We cannot keep having elections,” he said. “We were all together yesterday but we did not speak to you because the results were not out.”
“We are asking everyone today to join us in rebuilding this wounded Pakistan,” he said as the country seemed to be heading towards a hung parliament. “Our only goal is a prosperous Pakistan and you know what we have done in the past.”
He said all the institutions should work together to help Pakistan get out of this crisis. “Everyone should sit in peace and harmony and take Pakistan out of the difficulties,” he said.
Sharif said he has assigned his younger brother and PML-N president Shehbaz Sharif to contact the Pakistan Peoples’ Party’s Asif Ali Zardari, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (F) chief Fazlur Rehman and Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui to form a coalition government.
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) data shows that results of 139 constituencies have been announced, which include 55 independents (mostly supported by PTI), PML-N 43, PPP 35 and other seats going to smaller parties.
The counting of votes is still ongoing after Thursday’s general election which was tainted by accusations of rigging, occasional violence and a nationwide mobile phone blackout.
To form a government, a party must secure 133 seats out of 265 in the National Assembly. One seat’s election was delayed after the death of a candidate. Overall, 169 seats are required to obtain a simple majority out of its total 336 seats, which include the reserved seats for women and minorities.
Sharif Has Pak Army’s Blessing
The Pakistan Army has a strong influence on the country’s politics and has been accused of tampering with elections to favour its preferred candidates. In 2018, the Pakistan Army effectively selected Imran Khan, a former cricketer-turned-politician, to replace Nawaz Sharif as the head of the PML(N).
Imran Khan became the prime minister after Nawaz Sharif was convicted, but Nawaz Sharif was later allowed to leave the country and returned in October 2023, when suddenly all the charges against him were dropped. Experts have suggested that Nawaz Sharif has the army’s backing this time. In the Pakistan election 2024, Pakistan Army chief general Asim Munir will consolidate his power over the political leadership of the country. The elections are significant as for the first time in Pakistan’s history, a civilian leader (Imran Khan) posed a threat to the army’s supremacy.
Former Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan Ajay Bisaria told news agency ANI that the elections are the most rigged and the most predictable, because the army is meddling with the process to get the government it wants. He said that it is widely anticipated that Nawaz Sharif and his PML-N party will be the army’s pick. He said that this is quite accurate.
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