General Syed Asim Munir felicitates nation on successful conduct of general elections n Says Pakistan’s diverse polity, pluralism will be well-represented by a unified govt n Political leadership, their workers should rise above self-interests n Nation needs stable hands and a healing touch to move on from politics of anarchy, polarisation n Wishes elections bring in political, economic stability n PTI chief says we will form govt in accordance with the Constitution n PML-N steps up contacts with rivals to form new govt n Shehbaz holds meeting with Zardari, Bilawal in Lahore n 3-member committee formed to contact independent candidates.
ISLAMABAD/LAHORE - Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Syed Asim Munir Saturday congratulated the entire Pakistani nation, caretaker government, Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), political parties and all winning candidates on successful conduct of General Elections 2024.
“Free and unhindered participation by Pakistani people to exercise their right of vote demonstrated their commitment to democracy and the rule of law as enshrined in Constitution of Pakistan,” says a press release issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) on Saturday. The leadership and personnel of law-enforcement agencies deserve our highest appreciation for creating a safe and secure environment for the electoral process, despite overwhelming odds, the ISPR said.
The constructive role played by national media, civil society, members of civil administration and judiciary enabled the successful conduct of the largest electoral exercise in national history.
“Pakistan’s diverse polity and pluralism will be well-represented by a unified government of all democratic forces imbibed with national purpose. Elections and democracy are means to serve people of Pakistan and not ends in themselves,” the ISPR quoted COAS as saying.
The nation needs stable hands and a healing touch to move on from the politics of anarchy and polarisation which does not suit a progressive country of 250 million people. Elections are not a zero-sum competition of winning and losing but an exercise to determine the mandate of the people. Political leadership and their workers should rise above self-interests and synergise efforts in governing and serving the people which is perhaps the only way to make democracy functional and purposeful, the ISPR said. “As the people of Pakistan have reposed their combined trust in the Constitution of Pakistan, it is now incumbent upon all political parties to reciprocate the same with political maturity and unity. As we move forward from this national milestone we must reflect on where the country stands today and where our rightful place should be in the comity of nations.” COAS wishes that these elections bring in political and economic stability and prove to be the harbinger of peace and prosperity for our beloved Pakistan.
PTI, PML-N, PPP, MQM-P vying to form new govt
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Barrister Gohar Ali Khan on Saturday claimed that President Arif Alvi would invite his party to form the government as they had gotten a majority in the National Assembly. “We have no quarrel with anyone, we want to move forward. We will proceed and form a government in accordance with the Constitution and the law,” Gohar Khan said addressing the media in Islamabad. He said the people freely exercised their right to vote. The presiding officers counted the votes and prepared Form 45, he added. The PTI chief said the results should be made according to Form 45 as they had received all those forms. He said the economy would not be able to tolerate the suppression of peoples’ voice and forming a desired government.
“No obstacle should be created for the PTI and results should be announced as soon as possible. As per the law, the final result is extracted from Form 45 and we have received all the results,” he said adding that the final results should be announced before 12:00am tonight. Gohar said their independent candidates were in contact with them. They were loyal to the party and would remain so, he said, adding that they would make their independent government.
He said the PTI would go towards intra-party elections within 15 days after completion of the process. The people had given a big mandate to the PTI, he maintained. He also said all the cases on the PTI founder were fake. The PTI chairman said they would reach a decision soon regarding the reserved seats as well as what party they should join. He said they would hold peaceful protests in the constituencies where results were stopped.
“The workers are requested that protest is a right, but it should be peaceful,” he said.
He said advertently an attempt was made to defeat them on the seats they had won. He claimed that the PTI had won elections on 170 seats. He also said his party clinched 39 out of 35 NA seats from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Gohar said they would decide about the chief minister’s post after consultation in two days. He claimed that his party would form a government in Punjab as well. As the major political parties have started planning to form new government in the centre and other provinces including Punjab, the official results of the general election2024 shows independents backed by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) have secured nearly hundred seats.
As the independents hold the key to form next governments in the centre and two provinces, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) is considering joining the ranks of the Majlis Wahdat-e-Muslimeen Pakistan (MWMP), a smaller religio-political party, in a move to retain party-back winning independents under its fold and to secure parliamentary seats reserved for women and minorities. The move comes after PTI-backed independents have won majority of seats in the national and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) assemblies while they are also leading in Punjab followed by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), according to the official results announced by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP). The beleaguered PTI had lost its iconic electoral symbol ‘bat’ after the Supreme Court in its January 13 judgment upheld the decision of ECP invalidating its intra-party polls.
The PTI now struggles to keep its winning independents under its fold as they are not legally bound by the party discipline and can join other parties. The party also fears losing its ample share of reserved seats in the Parliament if either its election symbol is not restored or party-backed independents don’t join any other party, according to the election laws.
PTI leader Barrister Gohar Ali Khan in his Saturday’s presser said that they have yet not decided to enter into an alliance with another party to secure the reserved seats. However, the official sources within the PTI disclosed that the party was very close to sealing a deal with MWMP. “We have discussed all available legal options and come to the conclusion that the party can neither retain a large number of independents within its ranks nor secure reserved seats if it didn’t join ranks of another party in the Parliament,” an office bearer of the PTI Central Secretariat told The Nation. The party has an option to join smaller parties including Sunni Ittehad Council Pakistan and MWM, he added.
Background interviews with some senior PTI leaders indicate that the leadership fears that ECP might not allow its independents to join any smaller political party that hasn’t won a single seat in the Parliament. This is the reason, PTI wants, that its independents sit in the Parliament as members of MWMP as the latter has clinched a seat of National Assembly from NA-37 (district Kurram). However, legal and parliamentary affairs experts are of the view that there is no bar that independents can only join ranks of a political party that has won at least one seat in the parliament.
After joining a smaller political party, the PTI-backed candidates will be able to elect their own parliamentary leader in any house and as a result, they will only be bound to follow directions of the parliamentary leader and not the party head in the light of the Supreme Court verdict in Punjab chief minister election case.
The Rule 92(6) of the election rules says that independent candidates will have three days to join a party immediately after the notification of their victory. They can also avail the option to form a group with any name in any house, the rule says, but then the group will not be able to get a share of reserved seats. As many 70 seats have been reserved for the women and non-Muslims in the 336-member National Assembly besides such seats have been allocated in each provincial assembly on the basis of strength of each house. A day earlier, PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif in his so-called victory speech had said that his party would form next coalition governments in the center and Punjab. The former prime minister further said that he was ready to join hands with the independents to steer the country out of the crisis.
Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) has also shown its intention to bring onboard the independents to form a government in the center.
Meanwhile, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) on Saturday intensified efforts to form new government. According to party sources, PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif met party supremo Nawaz Sharif and informed him about the progress in the meeting with Asif Ali Zardari here on Saturday.
Party sources said that a3-member committee has been set up by the PML-N leadership to contact independent candidates.