Shehbaz Sharif proposes formation of new government

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Shehbaz Sharif, the Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly, urged the formation of a national government for the next five years on Wednesday, amid escalating political tensions in the country.

He did, however, advise that the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) play no part in it.

Shehbaz, who is also the head of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), stated in an interview with a private TV channel that the proposed national government should serve Pakistan for the next five years in a concerted effort.

“In my opinion, we should form a national government without the PTI that will serve the country with all honesty and hard effort for the next five years,” he added, adding that after that, a direction would be given and subsequent decisions concerning the country could be made based on the current scenario.

He predicted that removing the PTI’s “poison” will require several years of dedicated effort. He stated, “I believe we will have nothing to do with Imran Khan’s PTI.”

Shehbaz did not dispute the allegations of horse-trading by opposition parties, but instead responded with a counter-question regarding why planes were flying members of the National Assembly and provincial assemblies to Bani Gala a few years ago.

“You can take me to the task if there is money involved,” he added, “but if someone [switches sides] out of his conscious, it is our constitutional right [to accept him].”

Shehbaz has mentioned the possibility of forming a national government before. He presented a similar concept in August of last year, claiming that no single party was competent of steering the country out of the multiplicity of issues it was experiencing.

The opposition leader also stated that if given the opportunity, his party will form a national administration, emphasising the importance of giving all political parties “an equal chance and a level-playing field in the elections to form a people’s government.”

Fawad Chaudhry, the Minister of Information, took issue with the PML-N president’s “extra constitutional declaration.” Shehbaz’s statement, according to the information minister, was an obvious violation of the parliamentarian’s oath.

As “all [of us] have taken the oath to preserve the Constitution,” the minister claimed that all lawmakers were required to follow the constitutional provisions. He went on to say that the PTI was the most popular party in the country because it received the most votes in the recent general election.

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