Pakistan election: Sharif’s PML-N mulls ‘coalition’ with PPP as Khan’s PTI protests ‘rigging’
Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) led by former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has suggested forming a “coalition” with the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), while supporters of jailed former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) protest the alleged rigging of the election.
No single political party has secured a majority in the 266-member National Assembly in the February 8 election, while independent members, mostly backed by Khan’s PTI Party, have secured 101 seats.
Reports said on Monday that Sharif’s PML-N floating the idea of forming a “participatory coalition government” with PPP led by Bilawal Bhutto Zardari.
PML-N gained 75 seats in the National Assembly followed by PPP, which secured 54 seats.
Sharif said the PML-N had started consultations with its former allies to form a unity government in the Centre.
“There’s only the possibility of forming the (federal) government with the backing of the PML-N. It will be a participatory coalition government,” Sharif was quoted as saying by the Dawn.
He added that it was in “the largest interest of the country that all should join hands” to form the federal government.
PML-N sources were quoted as saying that the initial formula stipulates that if the coalition parties agree to give the post of Prime Minister to the PML-N, then the post of President and Speaker will be given to the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP).
Similarly, the post of Deputy Speaker can be given to the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) or any of the independent members joining the coalition. Besides, the PML-N may keep the Finance Ministry and other Ministries will be distributed among allies with mutual consultation.
Meanwhile, protests by Khan’s supporters continued across Pakistan amid election vote-rigging allegations.
PTI and other smaller parties claim seats they won were given to Sharif who is seen as the military’s favored candidate, and the PPP, which also is reported to have a close relationship with the military establishment.
Khan is barred from standing in the elections as he is already serving a three-year jail term for corruption.
Earlier in January, Khan and his wife Bushra Bibi were sentenced to 14 years in jail for “corruption”, the second sentence handed to him in two days just a week before national elections.
The former Pakistani leader has said the numerous cases against him are “politically motivated.”