Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Shehbaz Sharif has said that independent candidates backed by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) can form a government in the Centre if they have the required number of seats in the National Assembly.
Speaking to the media in Islamabad, Shehbaz Sharif said: “If they can show the majority [in the Assembly] then we will gladly sit in the opposition benches and play the constitutional role. If they cannot make a government, then obviously other political parties will make a decision with consensus and field a candidate. This is the constitutional way […] we need to move forward like this and finalise the upcoming phase.”
The PML-N president said his party is ready to sit in opposition if PTI-backed candidates established their majority in the lower house of parliament.
"We will accept them [PTI government] happily if they fail to do then we will use our Constitutional and legal right," the PML-N president said.
He said the PML-N has a majority in Punjab and his party is the largest in Centre in terms of party. "We now have 80 members after independents joined our party," he said adding that more independent lawmakers will join the PML-N.
Shehbaz Sharif said that after the party lost in 2018, it did not abuse anyone or hold any sit-ins. “We went to Parliament with black armbands who doesn’t know that the election was stolen? We didn’t say we would set Parliament on fire or give the nation a message of civil disobedience.”
Shehbaz said that the-opposition had kept aside political differences for the sake of Pakistan. “When we talked about a charter of democracy, in my maiden speech [as premier], I was ridiculed,” he said.
He further said that Imran used to enter the Assembly from a “secret door” so he did not have to shake hands.
“We sacrificed politics to save the country. Otherwise, the PTI government had led the country to default,” he said.
Shehbaz Sharif has brushed off the allegations of poll rigging, highlighting that in several areas PML-N stalwarts lost and independents won.
“In KP, the majority is of independent candidates […] does it mean they won through rigging. And in Sindh and Balochistan, there was no sign of independents,” he said at a press conference.
“On behalf of my party, independents are free, if they want to make a government, go ahead. We will sit in the opposition and fulfil our role,” he said.
Shehbaz added that all the political parties in the Parliament were engaged, adding that he had a conversation with Sardar Khalid Magsi of Balochistan. “The country needs to move forward […] there are numerous challenges and time is less,” he pointed out.
Shehbaz Sharif says the time has come to heal the nation’s wounds, highlighting that this could only be done when “everyone comes and works together”.
He further said that on election night, on the basis of a mere 10-12 per cent of results, there was a declaration that independent were winning and parties were losing, which was “inappropriate”.
“On one hand there are allegations of rigging [but] then independents are winning and we are losing. This is contradictory,” he said.
“So please, elections have happened and it was proven that out of political parties, PML-N is the biggest party. If you count independents, then their number is obviously greater — but in political parties PML-N is number one,” he said.