Imran Khan says he will take oath as Pakistan PM on 11 August; PTI struggles to get numbers to form govt
Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) had announced on Sunday that it is trying to reach out to smaller parties and Independents to form the next government in Pakistan.
Islamabad/Peshawar: Imran Khan said on Monday that he will take oath as prime minister on August 11, even as his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party was striving to get the required numbers to form a government.
The PTI, led by 65-year-old Khan, has emerged as the single largest party in the National Assembly after the 25 July elections, but it is still short of numbers to form the government on its own. Khan's party yesterday announced that it is trying to reach out to smaller parties and independents to form the next government.
Khan said he will take oath as the prime minister on 11th of next month (August), state-run Radio Pakistan reported.
"I have also decided about chief minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa which I will announce in the next 48 hours. Whatever I have decided in this regard is in the best interest of people," he said while addressing PTI members of provincial assembly in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.
In Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, the PTI has won a two-thirds majority by bagging 65 seats in the assembly of 99 members.
He said alleviation of poverty from interior Sindh will be among top priorities of his government.
On Saturday, PTI spokesman Naeemul Haque told reporters that the party chief will take oath as the prime minister before 14 August. Haque said that he hoped the president would call an assembly session and Khan would take oath as premier before the independence day.
He said Khan would prefer a peoples' ceremony of oath-taking where thousands can watch him take the oath as prime minister.
"Perhaps D-Chowk area may be the right place to do it," he said, referring to Islamabad's famous D-Chowk where the party had staged its 126-day sit-in in 2014 against alleged rigging in the 2013 general elections.
Although the PTI has emerged as the single largest party in the National Assembly after the polls, the final results issued by the Election Commission of Pakistan show that the party is still short of numbers to form its government independently.
According to the results, the PTI has bagged 116 general seats — 22 short of simple majority — whereas the PML-N and PPP have won 64 and 43 seats, respectively.
Pakistan's National Assembly comprises a total of 342 members, of which 272 are directly elected.
To meet the required number of votes, the PTI leadership has reportedly been approaching the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P), the Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA), PML-Quaid (PML-Q), and the Balochistan Awami Party (BAP), as well as independents.
Khan has won from five constituencies while two other PTI candidates have won on two seats each.
They can retain only one seat. The party will have to vacate six extra seats where by-polls will be held. Hence, the strength of party will be reduced to 110.
His ally Pervaiz Elahi of Pakistan Muslim League (PML-Q) has also won on two seats and will vacate one before taking oath. Thus, the actual strength of PTI including its two allies -– PML-Q with 3 seats after Elahi leaves one and Awami Muslim League (AML) with 1 seat -- is 114.
Since elections were held on 270 seats due to the cancellation of voting on two seats and at least 7 seats will become vacant before the oath, the actual strength of the House will be 333.
Hence, Khan will need 167 members of the competed House on his side to become the prime minister.
If the calculation is done on the basis of just those lawmakers who are directly elected on 270 seats, then it becomes simpler.
Since the House will be reduced to 263 seats after 7 vacated by those elected on more than one seat, Khan will need 132 directly elected lawmakers to become the leader of the prime minister.
To further simplify its math, since PTI and allies have 114 seats, Khan still needs 18 members.
His party is trying to win support of 13 independent members and MQM which has 6 members. It is also expected to get support of 4 members of Balochistan Awami Party.
Meanwhile, the Election Commission has ordered recounting of 26 national and provincial assembly seats.
The list includes 15 National Assembly constituencies, including the two lost by former prime ministers Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Syed Yousuf Raza Gillani.
Recounting has also been approved at six Punjab Assembly seats, three Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly and two Sindh Assembly seats.
In a related development, two main parties — PML-N and PPP — have agreed on formulation of a "coordinated joint strategy".
The understanding on cooperation was reached during the first direct meeting between the leaders of the PML-N and PPP after the general elections on Sunday.
"It was an ice-breaker," said PML-N's Mushahid Hussain Sayed, when asked about the outcome of the meeting. "It was a very good meeting and you can call it a meeting of the minds."
He said that there was complete unanimity of views between the two main parties that the "July 25 elections have been stolen".
The PPP delegation comprised former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, Sherry Rehman, Qamar Zaman Kaira and Farhatullah Babar while the PML-N side was represented by Mushahid Hussain Sayed, Ayaz Sadiq, former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Sardar Mahtab Ahmed Khan.
Later, the PPP leaders also held talks with Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, who also heads the MMA, and tried to persuade him to reverse his decision of boycotting parliament.
Since the MMA has 12 seats, the combined seats of the PPP, PML-N and MMA become 117.
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This letter comes on the same day that Imran accused French president Emmanuel Macron of "attacking Islam" after the European leader criticised Islamists and defended the publication of cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed.
Macron said the teacher beheaded near Paris recently "was killed because Islamists want our future". Macron earlier this month said "Islam is a religion that is in crisis all over the world"
'Like the decisions on Ram Mandir and Article 370, the prime minister has decided when there would be war with Pakistan and China,' he is heard saying in a video clip on social media