Imran Khan's Detractors Agree On Coalition Government

Pakistan’s incarcerated ex-Prime Minister, Imran Khan, saw his political adversaries unveil a power-sharing pact late Tuesday, selecting Shehbaz Sharif as their consensual nominee for the premiership.

The highly anticipated revelation came after extensive discussions among the Pakistan Muslim League (PML), the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), and other factions that failed to secure sufficient seats in the February 8 election to form a solo government.

Khan-aligned candidates emerged as the frontrunners in the parliamentary elections, yet their seat tally proved insufficient to clinch a government formation.

Following Khan’s removal from office through a no-confidence motion in parliament in 2022, Sharif, the brother of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, ascended to the position of prime minister. In the aftermath, Khan has encountered a series of legal troubles, perceived by his supporters as calculated attempts to prevent his return to power

Khan’s rivals said at a late-night news conference of party leaders that they had secured the required majority of votes to form a coalition government. The parliament will elect Shehbaz Sharif of the PML as the new prime minister when the inaugural session of the National Assembly is convened later this month, the party leaders said.

They also said former President Asif Ali Zardari of the PPP will be their joint candidate for president when the new parliament and all four provincial legislatures elect the successor of departing President Arif Ali in the coming weeks.

Read also: Pakistan’s Ex-PM Imran Khan Handed 10-Year Prison Sentence

Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party has urged for the resignation of Pakistan’s Election Commission head, Sikandar Sultan Raja, alleging failure to ensure transparent elections.

The party claims that many of its candidates’ victories were turned into defeats, a claim contested by the elections oversight body.

While Khan’s candidates claimed victory in 93 out of 265 National Assembly seats during the elections, it proved insufficient to secure a governing mandate. Sharif’s PML and Zardari’s PPP secured 75 and 54 seats, respectively.

Khan is currently serving concurrent prison sentences totaling 31 years, following convictions on charges of corruption, divulging official secrets, and violating marriage laws in late January and early February. The trials took place at a prison in Rawalpindi.

The unexpectedly robust performance of Khan’s party in the recent elections stunned former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who had previously been identified as the favored candidate of the influential security establishment.

Shehbaz Sharif, his younger brother, expressed gratitude to his allies for selecting him as their consensus candidate for prime minister.

Africa Today News, New York 

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