Islamabad | Jailed former Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan's party on Tuesday announced that it will use the platform of two rightwing religious parties in its bid to form government in the Centre as well as in the provinces of Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.
“Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party has decided to join Majlis Wahdat-e-Muslimeen (MWM) to form the government in the Centre and Punjab and Jamaati-e-Islami (JI) in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa,” PTI Information Secretary Raouf Hassan said while addressing a press conference.
Hassan said the PTI was redoubling its efforts to make government in the Centre and Punjab.
However, it is believed that by joining the two parties, the PTI will not be able to gather enough strength to form either the federal or provincial government in Punjab.
However, the PTI can form a government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa even without the support of any other party.
Independent candidates, mostly backed by Khan's PTI, won 101 seats in the 266-member National Assembly in the February 8 general elections. Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif's PML-N has won 75 seats and former foreign minister Bilawal Bhutto's PPP has won 54 seats.
The PTI-backed candidates ran as independents due to the party losing the election symbol of ‘bat’ following controversy surrounding its intra-party elections.
By joining the two parties, the PTI will be able to claim a share of the 70 reserved seats in the national assembly and 156 reserved seats in the four provincial assemblies.
The reserved seats are allotted to the parties based on proportional representation.
The PTI-backed independent candidates were required to join a political party within three days of official notification of the election results by the Election Commission of Pakistan, which has not been issued so far.
However, the choice of the two parties by the PTI may invite scrutiny by its opponents as MWM is a Shiite party led by Allama Raja Nasir Abbas and it succeeded in getting only one seat in the national assembly but failed to get any seat in the four provinces.
On the other hand, the JI is one of the oldest hardline religious parties which supported the struggle in Kashmir and opposed the US forces in Afghanistan through rallies and protests.
It failed to get any national assembly seat but won six provincial seats, including three in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, two seats in Sindh and one in Balochistan, according to the ECP data.
Meanwhile, PTI party’s Barrister Ali Zafar said PTI founder Imran Khan wants the party to engage with all political parties apart from the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Pakistan Peoples' Party (PPP) and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement Pakistan (MQM-P).
In a press conference after meeting Khan, 71, at the Adiala Jail, Barrister Ali Zafar said: “Imran has told party leader to begin discussions on the formation of the government, the appointment of chief minister, prime minister and National Assembly speaker.”
“He has also told us about the parties with which the PTI will form alliances and the details will come forth soon before the nation,” he added.
Zafar said that keeping in view the “actual results of elections, the PTI is in a position to form a government today”.
Zafar also said the PTI would hold its intra-party elections within a week or 10 days.
“You must remember that intra-party elections were ready and the process is underway […] today, Khan sahib told us to speed up the process,” he said.
In response to another question, Barrister Zafar said the Election Commission of Pakistan will have to “accept the intra-party polls”.
Barrister Gohar Khan said cricketer-turned-politician Khan wants the party to form its “own government” whether it is in the Centre, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa or Punjab.
“In KP, Ali Amin Gandapur has been nominated as the chief minister. In a day or two, we will also announce our candidates for the speaker and the deputy speaker,” he said.