PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif has said that his party was willing to sit in the opposition benches in the National Assembly if the independents prove their majority in the lower house of Parliament.
“If independent candidates did not form their government, then we will play our constitutional role,” he said at a press conference in Lahore on Tuesday. He was flanked by party leaders Ishaq Dar, Marriyum Aurangzeb, and Khawaja Saad Rafique.
Millions of Pakistanis made their voices heard by voting in the polls on February 8, with record numbers of Pakistani women, members of religious and ethnic minority groups, and youth registered.
Elections were held for 265 seats in the national assembly and a political party needs 134 seats for a simple majority.
Independent candidates have secured 92 National Assembly seats, followed by the PML-N (75), and the PPP (54), according to the provisional results issued by the Election Commission of Pakistan.
On Monday, PTI’s Latif Khosa clarified that his party would not form a coalition government given the experience.
But sources told Aaj News on Tuesday that independent candidates backed by the PTI were expected to join the Jamaat-e-Islami.
At the press conference, Shehbaz said that the PML-N has emerged as the single largest party in the election.
The Constitution was clear about the formation of the government, he said and added that the party securing a majority of the seats forms the government
He reminded the reporters in the hall of the 2018 elections when results were issued more than 66 hours after the polls. “Which election is there where allegations of rigging were not made?”
The PML-N president praised the ECP for holding elections.
On election night, he said that on the basis of a mere 10-12 per cent of results, there was a declaration that independents were winning and parties were losing, which was “inappropriate”.
“On one hand there are allegations of rigging [but] then independents are winning and we are losing. This is contradictory,” he said.
“So please, elections have happened and it was proven that out of political parties, PML-N is the biggest party. If you count independents, then their number is greater — but in political parties, PML-N is number one,” he said.
“I still stand by my words that Nawaz Sharif will become prime minister for the fourth time,” Shehbaz said.
When asked, Shehbaz said: “Despite that, Nawaz Sharif said that PTI-backed independents should be given their constitutional right to form a government if they want to. But if people want to join the PML-N out of their own will, what is the problem in that?”