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Imran Khan's Move: PTI Not Backing Down as It Looks to Form Coalition Government

© Photo : PTI CandaPakistani Canadians showed up in large numbers in Toronto for a peaceful protest against Imran Khan's arrest
Pakistani Canadians showed up in large numbers in Toronto for a peaceful protest against Imran Khan's arrest - Sputnik India, 1920, 14.02.2024
Six days after Pakistan’s general election, two competing parties, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PMLN), have both announced plans to form a government.
The PTI leadership announced that its independent candidates would try to form a federal government and one in Punjab province by joining a coalition with a Shia political party Majlis-e-Wahdat-Muslimeen (MWM), who have been friendly with PTI for a long time, on Tuesday.
The MWM is a political and religious party based in Islamabad whose main objective is the revival of Islam and the stability of Pakistan, as per the party. The party's main perspective is to speak against the oppression of Pakistan's Shia community and establish goodwill with the Sunni parties.
PTI also said its candidates in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, where the party won a two-thirds majority in the recent elections would team up with another religious party, Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), to form a government. This collaboration would give PTI the edge it needs to form a regional government.
Meanwhile, the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) is forming a coalition with Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PMLN) at a national level.

Split Mandate as a Result of Elections

Following the February 8 elections, the country saw a split mandate with no party securing a majority in the National Assembly. Independent candidates affiliated with jailed former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s PTI won the most seats, but to form a government they are still required to be part of a political party or a coalition.
In announcing a coalition plan on Tuesday, PTI spokesman Raoof Hasan said he had been tasked by Imran Khan to approach all political parties other than the "PPP, PMLN and MQM (Muttahida Qaumi Movement)".

During a press conference in Islamabad, Hasan said, "Imran Khan has a clear message that formation of a government is the right of whoever wins the elections."

Sputnik India discussed the matter with a politician and close contact of Imran Khan's party, Ayaaz, who asked to be mentioned without his surname for security reasons. He explained what the next few days will bring to the country's political landscape.

"The elections were rigged, otherwise PTI had a clear landslide win, now the political mandate is split. I was recently approached by a PMLN representative who invited me to join their party, but our family and the tehsil (district) that we represent is loyal to PTI. I cannot say exactly how much, but they were offering me a very large sum of money to join them," Ayaaz shared.

He further said that PMLN and PPP are trying to convince independent candidates to come to their side and a number of candidates are being "bribed and some have joined", whereas many are holding their ground, while PTI is not giving up.

"What Khan and PTI's leadership is doing now, despite all the obstacles, is completely remarkable. They have clearly stated that they will not join hands with PMLN and PPP, but will pursue other parties to form a coalition government. PTI-backed candidates won 93 seats in the National Assembly whereas the PMLN won 75 seats, the PPP was the third highest with 54 seats. But there was a lot of rigging and the establishment: that is the military, bureaucrats, election commission and even some courts, are all siding with PMLN. But PTI is not backing down because they saw that the masses in Pakistan want Khan," the politician stated.

Most Likely Outcome for Country's Political Life

A party or coalition needs a simple majority of 134 seats in the National Assembly out of the 266 that were voted on during the general election in order to form a government.
Besides the 266 directly elected seats, an additional 60 seats are reserved for women and 10 for minorities. Those seats are distributed among parties according to the ratio of seats they won, but independents will not receive these quota seats.

Sputnik also spoke with a Scotland-based political writer, Parvez Salik, who said, "The election was obviously rigged with independent candidates who were well in the lead suddenly losing within hours of the internet blackout. Both PPP and Nawaz's party have resisted electronic voting," Salik said.

He further explained that although in theory the PTI is the largest group, it is difficult to see how they can get support to form a government especially with their leader in prison.
"Any court case against vote rigging is going to be a lengthy process and the most likely outcome is for a PPP and PMLN coalition, with a prime minister coming from this coalition, while the masses will be left disgruntled and bearing the brunt of this political instability," the writer stated.
A PPP and PMLN government will look like the coalition similar to the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), which was formed in 2020 with the purpose of ousting Khan from office.
After Khan was removed in April 2022, the coalition ruled with Shehbaz Sharif as prime minister, but it was quite unpopular because of its inability to bring the country’s economic crisis under control.
Supporter of former prime minister Imran Khan and political party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) attend during an election campaign rally in Lahore, Pakistan, Sunday, Jan. 28, 2024. - Sputnik India, 1920, 09.02.2024
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