Published: Tue, July 31, 2018
Finance | By Marshall Campbell

Narendra Modi congratulates Imran Khan, talks about peace, development in neighbourhood

Narendra Modi congratulates Imran Khan, talks about peace, development in neighbourhood

He will also have to contend with the same issue as many of his predecessors: how to maintain a balance of power in civil-military relations.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi called up Pakistan's prime minister-in-waiting Imran Khan to congratulate him on his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) emerging as largest political party in the recent election.

The PTI's victory was built on the back of two major wins.

The PML-N, which claims it was the target of military manipulation, said it would join in the protests although no date was immediately announced.

The PTI leaders who have won more than one seat will have to vacate additional seats as the law allows an individual to retain only one seat. Michael Gahler, the chief observer of the European Union Election Observation Mission in Pakistan, said on Friday the election was negatively affected by the political environment amid media restrictions and a problematic vote count. The number was similar in 2013.

Khan's party did better than expected to scoop up 16.86 million votes, trouncing the party of jailed former premier Nawaz Sharif, which finished second with 12.89 million and said on Saturday that a party member had been killed.

For the last 35 years, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), an ethnic Muhajir party, has ruled Pakistan's largest city, Karachi, with an iron fist.

The operation finally led to the factionalisation of the party, with chief Altaf Hussain, who lives in exile in London, unable to maintain control.

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Almost finalised results also indicated religious parties that fielded more candidates than ever before failed to win any National Assembly seats. PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari yesterday formed a committee to engage with political parties to discuss the way forward in the post-poll scenario. Additionally, a chief executive of the province can be from the non-Muslim community as well.

It did. In fact, it now seems the whole PML-N team has been bowled out and Khan is the man of the match, as the daily Nation's banner headline declared the day after the election.

Entry to the polling stations was strictly controlled, and in several instances, media workers reported being disallowed from entering - despite having proper accreditation - by military personnel. "We want to play the role of mediator in the Middle East".

Third place went to the left of centre Pakistan People's party with 39 seats. The jury is out on this one.

"We think a robbery has been committed", Maulana Fazalur Rehman, head of the religious Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F) party, told reporters. The party, however, was short of 22 seats for a simple majority.

Other than the parties, 13 independent candidates also won their seats. The PPP appears to have accepted the results, with reservations.

It was after these calculations that the PTI leadership has now made a decision to reach out to other smaller groups and independents since the party has already declared that it will not join hands with the PPP and the PML-N, the daily said.

PTI spokesman Naeem Ul Haq told a news conference that the party would also form a government in the most populous province, Punjab, and there would "good news" by Sunday. While talking to my folks I could feel the prevailing desperation of the people to have a leader who could pull the country out of the clutches of corruption, poverty, unemployment and from a plethora of other challenges.

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