M A I N   N E W S

PML-N largest party, woos Independents
Wins 127 seats, but 10 short of majority
Imran’s PTI to form govt in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa 
Afzal Khan in Islamabad

Nawaz Sharif’s PML-N has emerged as the single largest party in Pakistan's landmark General Election bagging 127 of the 272 parliamentary seats but fell short of a majority and would form a government with the support of the Independents and smaller parties.

The PML-N's two closest rivals — the Pakistan People's Party and Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf — lagged far behind with 31 and 26 seats, respectively.

Two-time premier Sharif requires 137 votes among the directly elected members of the National Assembly for election as the leader of the House and the Prime Minister. Although he can comfortably form a coalition government with the help of Sindhi and Baloch nationalist parties, Sharif first wants to ensure simple majority in the House “without crutches” as he had stated on the eve of elections.

Another 70 seats, reserved for women and non-Muslims, will be allocated to parties according to their performance in the polls. To have a majority in the 342-member National Assembly, a party or coalition will need 172 seats.

The Senate or the Upper House of Parliament is currently controlled by the PPP.

A total of 39 Independents have been elected in the National Assembly. Traditionally, most of them often support the winner. However, they also become instrument for destabilising the government at the behest of military establishment.

The PML-N has already started the process of wooing the Independents. Sharif wants them to join the PML-N for the stability of the government. A three-member committee under former Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah is negotiating with the Independents while Nawaz’s brother Shahbaz Sharif has also contacted several of them. Shahbaz confirmed that he was in touch with the Independents but said the situation would be clear in two or three days.

The MQM, which had been a key partner in the last PPP-led government, bagged 16 seats while Maulana Fazlur Rehman's Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam won 10 seats in the National Assembly. The Jamaat-e-Islami and PML-F won three seats each while the PML-Q, formed by former military ruler Pervez Musharraf, Pashtunkhwa Milli Awami Party and National People's Party bagged two seats each. The PTI has emerged as single largest party in the Khyber Pakhtunkhawa (KP) Assembly. It has won 35 seats in the 99- member House and needs support of other parties.

Sharif has categorically rejected suggestion by JUI’s Maulana Fazlur Rehman to block the PTI from forming the government. In a telephone call, Maulana told Sharif that his JUI can form a coalition with the PML-N, Independents and some smaller groups but did not get any encouraging response.

Maulana claimed that the PTI has bagged seats by rigging the polls. Sardar Mehtab Abbasi, a senior PML-N leader and former KP Chief Minister on Tuesday dismissed speculations that he has been told by Sharif to see the possibility of stitching together a coalition in order to keep the PTI out of power. Sharif has clearly stated that he would honour the mandate won by the PTI, he said, adding that nobody should destabilise the province which is already facing problems of militancy and terrorism. “We do not want to further aggravate or complicate the situation,” he said.

Shahbaz Sharif also echoed similar views. “We are in a position to bring together various groups to form the coalition but the PTI has the first right to try that,” he said.

PTI chairman Imran Khan has contacted leaders of Jamaat Islami (JI) and Qaumi Watan Party (QWP). Shahbaz Sharif told reporters that the PML-N is in contact with nationalist parties in Balochistan for formation of a coalition there.

(With PTI inputs)

PM unlikely to visit Pak

New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has no proposal at this stage to visit Pakistan. Responding to questions on Pakistan Prime Minister-in-waiting Nawaz Sharif inviting Manmohan Singh to his swearing-in, MEA spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said: “There is no specific proposal for a specific visit for a specific time.” He said the PM did call Nawaz Sharif after his party’s victory and extended him an invitation to visit India.





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