Pakistan Polls: Army Chief Calls for Unified Govt After Nawaz Sharif’s Appeal, PTI Claims Majority


Pakistan’s army chief, Gen Asim Munir, has urged the country’s polarised political leadership to come together to form a unified government of all democratic forces as the aftermath of the general elections points towards a hung Parliament. This call for unity comes amidst former premier Nawaz Sharif’s appeal to political rivals to join forces in addressing Pakistan’s current challenges.

Sharif’s plea followed the surprising victory of independents backed by Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party in Thursday’s elections.

With the PTI claiming victory and securing the largest share of seats, efforts to establish a coalition government are underway. However, uncertainties loom as allegations of rigging and disruptions during the election persist.

According to news agency PTI, in a statement attributed to Gen Munir, the army emphasised the need for stability and unity in Pakistan’s political landscape, stating, “Elections are not a zero-sum competition of winning and losing but an exercise to determine the mandate of the people.”

“The nation needs stable hands and a healing touch to move on from the politics of anarchy and polarisation which does not suit a progressive country of 250 million people. Elections are not a zero-sum competition of winning and losing but an exercise to determine the mandate of the people,” the statement said.

Army chief Munir emphasised that the people of Pakistan placed their combined trust in Pakistan’s Constitution and it was now “incumbent upon all political parties to reciprocate the same with political maturity and unity.”  

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PTI Claims Majority, Expects Invitation To Form Government

PTI Chairman Barrister Gohar Ali Khan asserted on Saturday that President Arif Alvi would extend an invitation to his party to form the government, citing their majority in the National Assembly. According to a media report, Khan stated that the PTI had secured victory on 170 seats in the National Assembly, surpassing the requisite 133 seats needed to establish a government.

In accordance with the electoral process, a party must secure at least 133 seats out of 265 in the National Assembly to form a government. Notably, one election was postponed due to the unfortunate demise of a candidate. Overall, a total of 169 seats are necessary to attain a simple majority out of the 336 total seats, inclusive of reserved slots for women and minorities.

President Alvi, a former senior member of PTI elevated to the presidency by Imran Khan in 2018, is expected to extend the invitation to PTI to form the government. Despite discrepancies between the claimed and official results – with PTI securing 100 seats as per official records – Khan expressed confidence in their majority position.

“We have no quarrel with anyone. We want to move forward. We will proceed and form a government in accordance with the Constitution and the law,” Khan asserted, as quoted by Geo News.

Meanwhile, Imran Khan, in an AI-generated message, expressed gratitude for PTI’s success and cautioned against any attempts to manipulate election results. The PTI’s Central Information Secretary, Raoof Hasan, emphasised the party’s commitment to defending the people’s decision through legal means.

Reports suggest that despite PTI’s lead, a coalition government led by Sharif’s PML-N and PPP, led by Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, remains a possibility. Discussions between the parties have been ongoing, with efforts to reach consensus on key positions. However, differences, particularly regarding the prime ministerial candidate, pose challenges to forming a cohesive coalition.

The fate of independent candidates, largely loyal to Imran Khan, remains uncertain as they navigate their options post-election. While the PML-N and PPP eye a share of reserved seats, the establishment’s role in political negotiations remains pivotal in determining the next government.

 



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