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Pakistan: Imran Khan's PTI announces Omar Ayub as Prime Ministerial candidate

This comes after Nawaz Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari's Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) agreed to form a coalition government with other parties. The PML-N on Tuesday nominated 72-year-old Shehbaz Sharif as the prime ministerial candidate instead of Nawaz.

Edited By: Aveek Banerjee @AveekABanerjee Islamabad Updated on: February 15, 2024 15:51 IST
Imran Khan, PTI, Omar Ayub, PM candidate
Image Source : OMAR AYUB (X) PTI names Omar Ayub as Prime Minister candidate

Islamabad: Jailed former premier Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on Thursday announced party secretary general and former federal minister Omar Ayub Khan as its prime ministerial candidate. PTI leader Asad Qaiser announced Ayub's candidature while speaking to the media outside Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi, after speaking to Imran, reported Dawn.

Qaiser further informed that Imran would give a date later today for a countrywide He further said that Imran would give a date later today for a countrywide protest campaign against alleged rigging in the Feb 8 polls. The party is making efforts to engage with all political parties protesting against the results, mentioning Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (F), Awami National Party, and Qaumi Watan Party. 

This comes after the main political parties in Pakistan, except Imran Khan's, agreed to try to form a coalition government. These parties include Nawaz Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari's Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P).

The PML-N on Tuesday night nominated 72-year-old Shehbaz Sharif as the prime ministerial candidate instead of the party supremo and three-time former premier Nawaz Sharif. The 74-year-old veteran politician, who was seeking a record fourth term as prime minister, returned to Pakistan in October last year after ending a self-imposed exile in the UK.

Additionally, PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz has been nominated for the post of Punjab provincial Chief Minister, who will become the first woman to serve in the post if elected. PML-N said Nawaz felt he could best support Shehbaz Sharif as prime minister and Maryam Nawaz as Punjab chief minister by helping them from behind and looking at party affairs.

Asif Ali Zardari likely to become next President

PPP leader and former President Asif Ali Zardari is likely to be Pakistan’s next president, a second term for him after his party agreed to ally with the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) to form a government at the Centre. Sources said that if the situation remains unchanged, the country will see the PML-N’s prime minister and the PPP’s president.

After the February 8 polls produced a split mandate, there has been no government in place in the country for almost a week now. With none of the major parties gaining a clear majority, Pakistan was staring at a coalition government.

The coming together of these two parties meant that Imran's party would not be able to assume power despite the independent candidates it backed winning the maximum number of seats in the National Assembly. PTI-backed candidates won the highest number of seats, with 93 out of a total of 264 seats for which results were declared. Nawaz's PML-N was the largest party with 75 seats and the PPP won 54.

Responding to the allegations of rigging and the global response to the elections, the country's Foreign Office said Pakistan's election process is an internal sovereign affair and the nation is committed to upholding its constitutional obligations. This comes despite several parties rejecting the election results due to alleged "interference".

A coalition government in Pakistan faces several challenges, including an economic crisis with high inflation hovering around 30 per cent and economic growth slowing to around 2 per cent. Pakistan would have to juggle relations with the US and China and face deteriorating ties with three neighbours - India, Iran and Afghanistan.

Violence during recounting 

At least two persons were killed and 14 others injured in an armed clash between the supporters of two political parties during a vote recount in a constituency in Pakistan's restive Balochistan province, police said on Thursday. Supporters of the Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) clashed outside the office of the returning officer in the industrial town of Hub.

BAP's Muhammad Saleh Bhootani had claimed victory after unofficial results were announced but the PPP’s Ali Hassan Zehri sought a recount of votes to overturn the result. As a result, the Election Commission of Pakistan ordered a recount of votes.

PPP leaders and the candidates who won the national and provincial assembly seats from Balochistan announced that the party would form a coalition government, led by a jiyala (loyal) chief minister, as protests intensified.

(with agency inputs)

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