Imran’s PTI yet to announce formation of next Pakistan govt
Islamabad:The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) is yet to make an announcement on forming the next government despite claims that it has achieved the required numbers, prompting observers to suggest the party is still negotiating deals with smaller parties and independent MPs to form a coalition at the centre. The PTI has 116 seats in Parliament and has to secure 137 to form government. There are fears that given the precarious situation it finds itself in, would-be coalition partners are increasing their demands. This in turn may result in anger within the PTI, which extensively campaigned with the agenda of a clean government. While the PTI struggles for numbers, the two main opposition parties – former premier Nawaz Sharif’s PML-N which bagged 64 seats in Parliament and Bilwal Bhutto Zardari’s Pakistan People’s Party that bagged 43 seats – have announced they are forming in alliance and will sit in the opposition. They will be accompanied by the Awami National Party (ANP) and the religious-political alliance, Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal. All the opposition parties have said they are uniting against the PTI to protest the rigging that allegedly took place during the July 25 elections. PTI chairman Imran Khan and his associates have entered into dialogue with a number of smaller political parties to form the next government. Khan has said he expects to take oath on August 11. So far, the PTI has secured support from Karachi-based MQM, which has demanded two slots in the federal cabinet and some concessions for its jailed workers. But other parties are demanding much more. The PTI is negotiating with the PML-Q, which has demanded the chief minister’s post in Punjab province. The PTI has the second largest share of seats and is trying to form a government there. The PTI won 123 seats in Punjab and its tally has reached 144, and the required number for a simple majority in the provincial assembly is 149 legislators. Observers said the formation of a PTI-led government in Punjab is essential for smooth sailing at the centre. “Historically we have seen that when there is one party at the centre and another in Punjab, there is friction which invariably leads to chaos,” said analyst Ghazi Salahuddin. The PML-Q, which secured two seats in the National Assembly and seven in the Punjab assembly, knows what is at stake for the PTI and is pressing home its advantage. Amid efforts to secure a simple majority at the centre, the PTI has initiated formal talks with the leadership of the Balochistan National Party (BNP) and the Jamhoori Watan Party (JWP). BNP president Sardar Akhtar Mengal put forward six demands, including a “solid assurance from Imran Khan about the recovery of missing persons from the province and putting an end to enforced disappearances by the future government” in return for his party’s support at the Centre.