Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) leader Nawaz Sharif on Friday declared his party the ‘largest’ in the National Assembly after the 2024 general elections, and called on other parties to join it in forming the next government.
“I have tasked Shehbaz Sharif to meet [JUIF chief] Fazlur Rehman, [MQM chief] Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, and [PPP Co-chairman] Asif Ali Zardari today,” he said during an address to his supporters at the PMLN’s Model Town Secretariat as part of his “victory” speech. “The PMLN is the largest single party in the country today after the elections,” he said.
While Sharif is technically correct in declaring his party the largest in the Lower House with roughly 72 seats—with more than 10 results still pending—candidates backed by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), who contested as independents, overall have the largest lead with around 90 seats.
The thrice-elected former prime minister urged all national institutions and politicians to play a positive role in steering the country out of the ongoing crises. “At least 10 years are needed for bringing stability to the country,” he said, referring to the economy, stressing it was the PMLN’s responsibility to steer the country out of prevailing crises.
Maintaining that the PMLN respected the mandate of all political parties and independent candidates who won the elections, he urged them to join the party for the sake of the country. “Our sole agenda is a prosperous Pakistan,” he said, indicating an intent to form a coalition government. He also maintained that neither he, nor his party, were interested in “fighting” with other parties, stressing the country cannot afford to hold fresh elections.
It remains unclear, however, what a potential coalition setup could look like. The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has already expressed an unwillingness to form an alliance with either the PMLN or the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), claiming it has “other” options.
Following Sharif’s speech, his younger brother and PMLN President Shehbaz Sharif met PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and his father, Asif Ali Zardari, in Lahore and discussed the potential to form a coalition government. Reportedly, both parties have agreed, in principle, to work together in both the Punjab Assembly and the National Assembly, but the matter remains pending until a power-sharing formula is chalked out.
Zardari, meanwhile, is expected to meet with independent candidates today (Saturday) and invite them to join his party in any potential interim setup.
The younger Sharif also discussed a coalition setup with MQM-P Convener Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, with both sides agreeing to a face-to-face meeting “soon.”