In keeping with the conciliatory note of his victory speech on Saturday night, Prime Minister-elect Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday visited arch political rival Imran Khan in hospital on Tuesday evening to bury the hatchet and strike up a working relationship.
However, it was not clear whether Mr. Khan’s party, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, had been invited to be part of his coalition as the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) is 13 short of the halfway mark of the 272 elected seats in the National Assembly.
Speaking to reporters after his brief meeting with Mr. Khan, Mr. Sharif said he urged the PTI leader to bury the differences. He claimed that Mr. Khan assured him of a working relationship to build a better Pakistan, hinting at the two parties moving away from competitive games to friendly matches.
Meanwhile, as the allegations of rigging gained currency despite a vote of confidence in the entire electoral process from the European Union Election Observation Mission, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Tuesday ordered repoll in 43 polling stations for one National Assembly and two provincial assembly seats of Karachi, much to the chagrin of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) which considers the metropolis its pocket-borough.
Since the day of poll, Karachi’s NA-250 has been in the eye of the storm — first because election material did not reach many of the polling stations till well past noon and then over allegations and counter-allegations of rigging. Upset over the repoll order for some polling stations, the MQM stuck to its demand for a re-polling in the entire constituency.
The PTI also continued with its protests against rigging. According to Mr. Khan, the party had collected evidence of rigging in 25 National Assembly constituencies in Punjab. While Mr. Khan was accusing the Sharifs of rigging, Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam leader Fazlur Rehman had a similar accusation for the cricketer-politician.
With the PTI set to lead the coalition formation in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Mr. Rehman said the verdict was an “engineered” one. On Sunday, he had urged Mr. Sharif — whose party won 12 seats in the 99-strong Assembly — to stitch up a coalition with other parties to keep the PTI out but this fell on deaf ears, winning the Premier-to-be accolades.
The Pakistan Peoples Party saw another round of resignations with Senator Aitzaz Ahsan and Punjab president Manzoor Wattoo putting in their papers. Speaking to reporters, Mr. Ahsan said the Election Commission should review the results of those constituencies which had registered 150 per cent voting. A report by Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) said 49 out of the 8,119 polling stations monitored by its observers registered over 100 per cent voting — 32 in Punjab, 10 in Sindh, six in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and one in Balochistan.