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Pakistan: Jailed Imran Khan warns against any new government ‘formed with stolen votes’

Pakistan: Jailed Imran Khan warns against any new government ‘formed with stolen votes’

 
- Pakistan Muslim Leaque-Nawaz nominates former Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to lead lower house of parliament
 

By Aamir Latif

KARACHI, Pakistan (AA) – Former Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif was nominated on Tuesday by his party to lead the lower house of parliament, just hours after imprisoned former Premier Imran Khan issued a warning that a government "formed with stolen votes" will send the nation's economy further into a downward spiral.

Khan, in a message posted on his official X account from Adyala Jail in the garrison city of Rawalpindi, as well as through his family, thanked the people of Pakistan for "entrusting the PTI with a resounding two-thirds majority"

The statement came amid meetings between the leaders of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Pakistan People's Party (PPP), and Muttehida Quami Movement (MQM), all of which are mulling forming a coalition government for the next five years.

“As the people of Pakistan have clearly pronounced their verdict, there is a dire need for democracy and fairness in Pakistan’s elections. I warn against the misadventure of forming a government with stolen votes. Such daylight robbery will not only be a disrespect to the citizens but will also push the country’s economy further into a downward spiral,” Khan said.

“PTI will never compromise on people’s will, and I have categorically instructed my party against engaging with any political party that has robbed people’s mandate, including PPP, PMLN and MQM,” he added.

According to the final results, the PTI-backed independents won 93 of the 266 direct seats, followed by the PML-N 75, PPP 54, and MQM 17.

Earlier on Tuesday, the PTI announced that the candidates who won last week's elections will join two religiopolitical parties to form governments in the center and two provinces.

PTI spokesman Rauf Hassan said at a press conference in the capital Islamabad that his party-backed independent candidates will "form a coalition" government with the Majlis Wahdat-e-Muslimeen at the federal level and in eastern Punjab province.

Whereas its independent candidates will merge with the mainstream religiopolitical party Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) in northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, Hassan added.

The PTI candidates ran in the Feb. 8 elections as independent candidates following the country's top court ruling removing the party symbol from the ballot paper for failing to hold an intra-party election on time.

This left the PTI unable to benefit from a share of 70 seats reserved for women and minorities, which are distributed among parties according to the ratio of seats they won in the elections.

No party could win a simple majority in the lower house to form the government on its own.

 

- Sharif, his niece contenders for top slots

 

The PML-N has nominated former Prime Minister and party President Shehbaz Sharif as its candidate for premiership.

PML-N Information Secretary Marriyum Aurangzeb, in a statement posted on X late Tuesday night that PML(N) supremo and three-time Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has nominated his younger brother Shehbaz Sharif for the position of the country’s prime minister.

She added that Nawaz Sharif's daughter and party's Senior Vice President Maryam Nawaz has been nominated for the post of the chief minister of the country's largest province Punjab.

Meanwhile, Asif Ali Zardari, co-chairman of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and former president, announced on Tuesday that he and other political leaders have decided to form a coalition government, inviting even PTI-backed independent candidates to join.

"We have decided to unite together and form a government to steer Pakistan out of crisis. Regardless of the challenges Pakistan faces, whether economic, terrorism, or reconciliation, the PTI is also part of this effort. We welcome them to join us in this process, and all political forces are invited to engage in discussions about reconciliation," he told reporters after a multi-party meeting at Pakistan Muslim Leaque-Quaid-e-Azam chief Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain's residence in Islamabad.

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