LAHORE, May 11: The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) may be down after Punjab ignored its call for ‘change’ on Saturday, but it is not out.
“Overall the PTI has emerged as the second largest national party, capable of playing the role of a strong, active opposition in the National Assembly and independently forming the provincial government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa,” Asad Omar, a central PTI leader, told Dawn.
Omar sounded confident of a future for his party in national politics and did not appear disappointed at its poorer-than-expected electoral performance in Punjab.
“The number of seats the PTI has secured from Punjab is probably a little less than what we had expected. Overall, it is a great day for the PTI because it has emerged as the second largest national party and will be able to independently form its government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and play the role of a strong opposition (in the National Assembly),” he said.
“Did we expect more seats from Punjab? Yes, we did. But we had never expected to (obtain majority seats from the province and) form government at the centre,” he frankly admitted. He, however, said it was a little early to say anything on the number of seats the PTI would win because the results were still coming. “The picture will clear by the morning and we (PTI leadership) are meeting on Sunday to determine our course of action,” he said.
Omar ruled out the possibility of the PTI becoming part of a coalition at the national level, but did not rule out partnering with some smaller parties to form its government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa if it did not obtain enough provincial assembly seats.
Supporters of Tehreek-e-Pakistan, headed by Pakistan’s cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan, celebrate the victory of their supported candidate in Rawalpindi, Pakistan on Saturday, May 11, 2013. — Photo by AP