The former exiled leader has been planning to reach out to jailed Imran Khan-backed independent candidates, who have performed surprisingly well beyond predictions.
Nawaz Sharif informed his supporters that he would be sending his brother and former PM Shehbaz Sharif to meet the leaders across party lines, particularly the ones backed by former PM Imran Khan, and invite them to form the new government.
Sharif made the claim for a coalition government amid the Imran Khan party’s allegations asserting tampering in the vote-counting procedure.
Imran Khan, former cricket star turned politician, was disqualified from running in Thursday’s election because of criminal convictions. He contended that his sentences and a slew of legal cases pending against him were politically motivated.
Sharif had gruffly rejected the idea of a coalition, telling reporters after casting his vote Thursday that he wanted a single party running Pakistan for a full five-year term.
But on Friday he acknowledged, “we don’t have enough of a majority to form a government without the support of others and we invite allies to join the coalition so we can make joint efforts to pull Pakistan out of its problems.”
“I don’t want to fight with those who are in the mood for fighting,” he told supporters in Lahore. “We will have to sit together to settle all matters.”
Khan’s party’s candidates were forced to run as independents after they were barred from using the party symbol — a cricket bat — to help illiterate voters find them on ballots.
Of the 235 National Assembly results — nearly 90% — announced by the election oversight body by Friday night, candidates backed by Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party, or PTI, had won 95 seats. The Pakistan Muslim League party of three-time PM Sharif, had 66 seats.
But with a third major party in the mix, nobody could declare outright victory.
(With AP input)