PTI in pole position, says Mehmoodur Rasheed

LAHORE: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) central leader and former opposition leader Mian Mehmoodur Rasheed claimed PTI is all set to form a government in Punjab. He added the party reached the required number of parliamentarians.

Speaking to the media on Monday, the PTI central leader said the party completed negotiations with likeminded political parties and independent MPAs-elect. The senior party leadership would soon make an announcement of a new provincial government in Punjab.

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He underlined there should be no doubt in anyone’s mind that PTI would form governments in the Centre and Punjab. He asked rivals to accept their defeat in the July 25 General Elections and honour the public mandate.

“We believe in the system and that is why we accepted the results wholeheartedly. Otherwise, the party suffered defeat from constituencies where there was no chance. PTI is considering all available options under the law and will form governments at the national and provincial levels,” he maintained.

As per the announcement of PTI Chairman Imran Khan, Rasheed underscored that the first 100 days of the PTI government would be better than entire tenures of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP).

Criticising the Sharif brothers, Rasheed said Shehbaz Sharif’s role in politics had reached its conclusion after the conviction of his brother; ousted premier Nawaz Sharif. He said Shehbaz had committed record levels of corruption during his tenure. He added it took two years to send Nawaz Sharif to Adiala Jail, but the extent of Shehbaz’s crimes was so great that it would not even take two months. The former opposition leader stated that government agencies had already gathered evidence against him.

Responding to a question, Rasheed said the party had not yet finalised a name for the Punjab chief minister. “I will accept the decision of the party’s leadership and perform my duties in any position assigned to me,” he said.

PTI spokesperson Fawad Chaudhry also claimed that the total count of PTI’s seats in the Punjab Assembly would reach 140 by tonight (Monday).

Independents flock to PTI

Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) leadership already announced that the party would throw its weight behind PTI for form a government in Punjab. PML-Q secured seven seats in the July 25 elections and will also gain reserve seats. The PML-Q also claimed the party secured the support of around 10 independents who were neither comfortable with PML-N nor believed in PTI’s leadership.

However, the exact situation would be unveiled in couple of days as the senior leadership of all political parties reached Islamabad to finalise their strategies.

“A group of 18 MPAs from Punjab is expected to join the PTI on Saturday (today),” a senior party leader privy to the development claimed earlier. Independents are expected to prefer the PTI over the PML-N given the fact the latter would be forming the next government in the Centre.

On Saturday, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Spokesperson Fawad Chaudhry claimed eight successful National Assembly independent candidates were all set to join the party.

The PTI spokesperson on Saturday also stated that five independent candidates agreed to support the party in the Punjab Assembly.

These five independent candidates reached Islamabad from Multan through a special aircraft, along with PTI’s Jahangir Tareen.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 31st, 2018.

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