ISLAMABAD: While the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) is claiming that it is in a position to form a coalition government not only in Islamabad but also in three provinces of the country, the party seems to be in a fix, so far, over the selection of its nominees for top slots in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Celebrating victory in July 25 general elections, the PTI has so far failed to nominate its chief ministers in KP and Punjab. Intra-party consultations are under way to nominate suitable candidates for the slot of chief minister in the two provinces.

For Balochistan, the party has shown its cards by supporting the candidature of Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) president Jam Kamal Khan Alyani after the two parties agreed to become allies in the coming provincial coalition.

The PTI announced on Tuesday that its chairman Imran Khan will soon decide who will be next chief ministers of KP and Punjab.

“The decision regarding chief ministers of KP and Punjab will be taken by PTI chairman Imran Khan and it will be acceptable to the entire party,” said Jahangir Tarin, a senior leader of the PTI who has been disqualified by the Supreme Court in the assets concealment case and barred from holding any public and party office.

On this occasion former KP chief minister Pervez Khattak laid to rest all speculation that he was eager to become CM for a second time and said he would accept whatever decision Mr Khan took. “We will accept even if Khan Sahib brings someone from America for the slot,” he said in a lighter vein.

With the inclusion of the BAP’s four MNAs-elect in the PTI camp, the position of Imran Khan’s party has further strengthened at the Centre as the party’s spokesman Fawad Chaudhry on Monday claimed to have secured 168 seats of the lower house of parliament.

Officially the PTI has bagged 116 general seats of the National Assembly (NA). But the party spokesman claimed on Tuesday that the number of MNAs-elect belonging to or supporting the PTI had reached 170 with the support of nine independents and allied parties, while 172 members were required for a simple majority in the National Assembly.

However, the party has to give up its six NA seats as three of its leaders have contested elections from more than one seat. Imran Khan contested the polls from five constituencies and he has to vacate his four seats. Ghulam Sarwar Khan of Taxila and retired Maj Tahir Sadiq have won two seats and have to vacate one seat each.

Pervez Khattak has won one each seat of NA and KP Assembly and now the party has to decide whether he will vacate his national or provincial assembly seat.

The Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q), an ally of the PTI, has four NA seats but two of them have been won by its president Pervez Elahi, who has to vacate one of the seats.

Giving breakup of the seats in hand, the spokesman said the PTI itself had 145 seats, including 13 independent candidates who had decided to join or support the party. Among the allied parties, the BAP has four seats, the Balochistan National Party-Mengal three, Grand Democratic Alliance two, Muttahida Qaumi Movement six, PML-Q four and Awami Muslim League one seat in the lower house of parliament. It is expected that the allies of the PTI will also get three to four seats reserved for women and minorities.

Mr Tarin, who is mustering support of other parties and independent candidates, claimed on Tuesday that six MQM MNAs-elect were with the PTI.

Shah Mehmood Qureshi said an independent candidate, Shaukat Laloka, had joined the PTI on Tuesday.

Erdogan greets Imran on phone

Meanwhile, Imran Khan continued to receive felicitations from the international community as Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan telephoned him on Tuesday to congratulate him on his party’s success in the elections.

According to the PTI media cell, the two leaders expressed the hope of beginning of a new chapter in bilateral relations. Mr Erdogan extended his “good wishes for Imran Khan and his future government,” at which the PTI chief thanked the Turkish president. Before this Mr Khan has also received good will messages from India, China, US, Afghanistan, Iran and Japan.

Published in Dawn, August 1st, 2018

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