With majority support from Pakistan’s newly-elected lawmakers, Imran Khan is within touching distance of the premiership. But to reach out and clasp it, he may seek a friendly push from a rival — the Bhutto clan’s Pakistan People’s Party (PPP).
But why can’t Khan, 65, stake his claim to the top post already?
His Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) was the single largest party in Wednesday’s election, which took place amid allegations of military meddling (to Khan’s profit, his rivals said) and was marred by a deadly blast in Quetta. The PTI’s final count was 116 seats, a few short of half the number of elected seats: 137.
But 116 has now swelled to 138, thanks to support from the Pakistan Muslim League-Q, the Awami Muslim League, the Balochistan Awami Party and ten independents. So, that Pakistan will have a new government is no longer in question.
But why not a prime minister?
It turns out that Pakistan’s national assembly has reserved seats — 70 of them — in addition to the elected ones. So when the full legislature convenes, Khan will need to target a new halfway mark — 172 — to secure the premiership. Right now, that looks unlikely.
He’ll need help from Bilawal Bhutto Zardari’s PPP, and that puts the former cricket hero in a bit of an awkward position: He earlier ruled out alliances with either the PPP or the Pakistan Muslim League-N, the party of arch-rival Nawaz Sharif. Besides, both these groups have said they’ll sit in the opposition benches.
After Khan cast his vote on Wednesday, he listened to the theme song of the 1992 cricket tournament he won for his country.
He may not have anticipated that in less than a week, he was to face his toughest final over yet.
News credit : Indiatoday