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Business News/ News / World/  Pakistan to call parliament meeting on Feb 29 to choose PM
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Pakistan to call parliament meeting on Feb 29 to choose PM

Two family-controlled parties in Pakistan have agreed to form a coalition government to elect Shehbaz Sharif as the next prime minister, sidelining Imran Khan's group, which won the most seats in contentious elections.

Supporters of opposition political party Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam hold a protest against alleged vote-rigging in some constituencies in the parliamentary elections, near the Sindh assembly in Karachi, Pakistan, Saturday, Feb. 24, 2024. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan) (AP)Premium
Supporters of opposition political party Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam hold a protest against alleged vote-rigging in some constituencies in the parliamentary elections, near the Sindh assembly in Karachi, Pakistan, Saturday, Feb. 24, 2024. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan) (AP)

Lawmakers in Pakistan are scheduled to convene on February 29 to choose a new prime minister, with the anticipation that former premier Shehbaz Sharif will assume the role, Geo News television channel reported.

According to the report, Sharif's party has formed a coalition to exclude the group led by jailed leader Imran Khan, despite Khan's party winning the majority of seats in the disputed elections.

As reported by Bloomberg, the legislators will elect a new speaker, deputy speaker and the prime minister in the first session of the National Assembly, or lower house, the broadcaster said, citing unidentified officials at the office of the outgoing speaker, Raja Pervez Ashraf. Information Minister Murtaza Solangi did not immediately confirm the date.

Also Read: Pakistan election results rigged? What's claimed as Imran Khan's PTI- backed candidates lead Nawaz Sharif's party

The gathering follows the national polls held on February 8, and amidst the formation of a coalition government by two family-controlled parties: the Pakistan Muslim League-N, led by former three-time premier Nawaz Sharif, and the Pakistan Peoples Party, co-chaired by ex-president Asif Ali Zardari and his son Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Bloomberg reported.

Also Read: Mint Explainer: What an election upset in Pakistan could mean for India

This coalition aims to sideline the group led by imprisoned leader Imran Khan, despite Khan's party securing the highest number of seats in the disputed elections.

The parliamentary session to select the prime minister for the upcoming five-year term is largely considered procedural, as the coalition partners have already put forward Shehbaz Sharif, the younger sibling of Nawaz Sharif, as their nominee for the position. Together, they hold 152 out of the 265 seats in the National Assembly. This count excludes independent candidates who have aligned with various political parties following the elections.

Sharif's candidacy for prime minister faces opposition from Omar Ayub Khan, who has been nominated by Imran Khan's party. Omar Ayub Khan is the grandson of a former military ruler. He has garnered support from independents aligned with Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party, who have allied with a conservative Islamic party to secure reserved seats. Together, they now hold more than 90 seats in total.

However, the number of independent candidates expected to switch allegiances to other political parties remains uncertain.

The incoming prime minister will face the immediate task of negotiating with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a new loan to bolster Pakistan's financially strained economy. A Pakistani official, speaking to Bloomberg News, indicated that the country is aiming for a new loan of at least $6 billion to address the repayment of billions of dollars in debt due this year.

(With inputs from Bloomberg)

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Published: 27 Feb 2024, 08:53 AM IST
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