PakistanPolitics

Imran Khan Slams ‘Stolen Mandate’, Calls for Fair Elections

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) founder Imran Khan has warned against the “misadventure” of forming a government with the “stolen votes” by the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).

In a message from Adiala Jail, where he is incarcerated in several cases, Khan said that such a move would not only disrespect the citizens, but also push the country’s economy into a downward spiral.

He said that the PTI would never compromise on the people’s will and instructed his party to avoid engaging with any political party that had robbed the people’s mandate, including the PPP, PML-N and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P).

He expressed his gratitude to the people for giving the PTI a resounding “two-third majority” in the February 8 nationwide polls, in which the PTI-backed candidates emerged as the largest group by winning 92 National Assembly seats, followed by the PML-N and the PPP with 79 and 54 seats, respectively.

He said that the massive turnout and the participation of families, women and children, truly exemplified the essence of democracy. He also commended the PTI’s social media team and the polling agents for their relentless efforts.

He said that as the people of Pakistan had clearly pronounced their verdict, there was a dire need for democracy and fairness in Pakistan’s elections.

His remarks came after the PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari announced that his party would back the PML-N’s candidate for the prime minister’s slot, but would not be a part of the federal government.

Bilawal said that he was withdrawing from the candidacy for the prime minister’s post as the PPP did not have the mandate to form the federal government. He said that his party would play the role of a strong opposition in the parliament.

The PTI, however, slammed Bilawal’s press conference and accused the PPP and the PML-N of staging a “political drama” to deceive the nation. The PTI said that the former Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) partners were trying to forge a nexus with the “pirates of Jati Umra”, referring to the residence of the PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif.

The PTI also claimed that it had received the directions from its founder to join hands with the Majlis-e-Wahdat-Muslimeen (MWM) to form its governments in the Centre and Punjab. The PTI spokesperson Raoof Hasan said that Khan had also directed the party to form a coalition with the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) over reserved seats.

Meanwhile, the PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif said that the PTI-backed independent candidates could form a government in the Centre if they had the required number of seats in the National Assembly. He said that his party was ready to sit in the opposition if the PTI-backed candidates could establish their majority in the lower house of parliament. He said that the PML-N would use its constitutional and legal right if they failed to do so.

Khan also nominated former federal minister Ali Amin Gandapur as his party’s candidate for KP’s chief minister. He said that Gandapur would lead the PTI government in the province, where the party had secured 84 seats.

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