World | Pakistan

Nawaz Sharif set to become Pakistan prime minister for third time

Expected to form government without alliance with rivals

  • By Ashfaq Ahmed, Deputy Editor, UAE
  • Published: 13:07 May 13, 2013
  • Gulf News

Dubai: Two time former Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif is all set to come in to power for the third time after winning the general elections with a thumping majority.

Sharif, who made a great comeback in the election that saw unprecedented 60 per cent turn out of voters, will form a stable government without entering in to a political alliance with his rivals including President Asif Ali Zardari’s Pakistan People Party (PPP), Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Altaf Hussain’s Muttahid Qaumi Movement (MQM).

According to unofficial results, Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) has won more than 125 seats out of the total 272 contested seats of the 342 house of the National Assembly. There are 70 reserved seats including 60 for women and 10 for non-Muslim minorities which are awarded according to the percentage of the total seats each party wins. With the majority of the reserved seats going to him, Sharif is comfortably placed to become the prime minister again with the help of seats won by more than 25 independent candidates.

Toppled in a 1999 military coup, jailed and exiled, Sharif held off a challenge from PTI’s Khan, who had hoped to break decades of dominance by PML-N and the PPP.

In his victory speech, Sharif, 63, vowed to bring the country out of economic crisis. He expressed desire to work with all parties to solve the country’s problems .“I appeal to all parties to come and sit with me at the table so that our nation can get rid of this curse of energy crisis, inflation and unemployment,” Sharif said.

Lahore based political analyst Ahmad Waleed said that the Sharif’s victory would also pave way for improved relations with India and help negotiations with Taliban helping the US plan to withdraw its forces from Afghanistan. ‘Both Sharif and Imran can play pivotal role to ensure peace by negotiating with Taliban,” he said.

India’s External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid yesterday also hoped that India would continue to have good relations with Pakistan if Sharif comes to power. “Our government has had relations with Nawaz Sharif. I hope we can continue to have good relations if he comes to power,” he said.

PTI’Khan who put up a great fight welcomed the high turnout in the country’s elections as a step forward for democracy, but alleged that vote-rigging had taken place.

“I congratulate the entire nation for taking part in such a massive democratic process. We are moving forward on the path of democracy,” Khan said from his hospital bed where he is laid up with a fractured spine.

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