LAHORE: After a poor showing in the Feb 8 polls, the PML-N, which has about 75 seats in the National Assembly, has pitched the idea of a ‘participatory coalition government’, saying not a single political party had secured the mandate to form a government in the Centre.

Former law minister Azam Nazeer Tarar termed this scenario ‘Hobson’s choice’ and said not a single political party had secured a majority in the National Assembly, insisting that elections were “fair”.

The PML-N leader was talking to the media after a meeting of the party’s top brass at Jati Umra in which consultations were held regarding the future course of action. The ex-minister said the PML-N had started consultations with its former allies to form a government in the Centre.

“There’s only the possibility of forming the [federal] government with the backing of the PML-N. It will be a participatory coalition government,” he said, adding that it was in “the largest interest of the country that all should join hands” to form the federal government.

Azam Tarar says govt formation not possible without PML-N; claims party in comfortable position to form Punjab govt

Other parliamentary parties would also be consulted before taking a final decision on the federal set-up, he added.

Govt in Punjab

Mr Tarar said that the PML-N had authorised Nawaz Sharif to take a final decision in this regard and hoped that the PML-N would form a strong setup in the province.

He claimed that the numerical strength of the PML-N in the Punjab Assembly had reached 155 seats as the party had won 137 seats in the Feb 8 vote, while it had left open some constituencies for other parties, whose elected members “would definitely side” with the PML-N.

He claimed at least two dozen independents emerged victorious in the provincial vote and many of them were joining the PML-N.

The former minister regretted that attempts were being made to cast doubts on the election results, while the “whole nation saw how [fair] the elections” had been held on Feb 8.

Without naming the PTI, he said only one party, which “succeeded in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa”, had raised objections to the election results. “We too have reservations about the KP results but we have accepted their mandate. In Punjab, our top leaders like Rana Sanaullah [in Faisalabad] and Saad Rafique [in Lahore] could not succeed,” he said, citing these examples as ‘evidence’ of fair polls.

Responding to a question about challenging the results of some constituencies before the higher courts, he said the party has formed a legal team to contest these cases.

Published in Dawn, February 12th, 2024

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