ISLAMABAD: In a candid address to his supporters outside his Model Town residence in Lahore, former prime minister and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supreme leader Nawaz Sharif conceded that his party, despite emerging as the ‘single-largest party’ in Thursday’s general elections, does not have the numbers to form a government on its own at the Centre.
“We respect the mandate of all parties and independent candidates,” Nawaz stated, acknowledging the reality of the election results. Urging unity in the face of a fragmented political landscape, he called upon his former coalition partners to come together and establish a ‘unity government’ for the benefit of Pakistan.
“I have tasked Shehbaz Sharif to make a move on this tonight. I have asked him to meet Asif Ali Zardari, Maulana Fazlur Rehman, and Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui,” Nawaz Sharif revealed, highlighting his proactive approach to kick-start the formation of a coalition government.
Hinting at the concept of a ‘unity government,’ Sharif emphasised that it is the collective duty of all political parties to collaborate and lead Pakistan out of its current challenges. “Not just my or Ishaq Dar’s responsibility… It is everyone’s Pakistan. If we all work together, only then Pakistan will get out of this crisis,” he added.
Addressing the need for stability, Sharif urged a reconsideration of confrontational strategies, asserting that Pakistan requires a minimum of 10 years of stability. “We do not seek conflict; Pakistan cannot endure it. It is imperative for all of us to come together, address our issues, and propel Pakistan into the 21st century,” he stated, making an apparent reference to political rivals, particularly the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).
In his address, Sharif expressed concern about the current state of the country, emphasising that it does not allow room for further crises. He announced that the first meeting to form a coalition government will be held tonight, with Shehbaz Sharif and other party members actively participating in the discussions.
Highlighting the PML-N’s success not only at the national level but also in Punjab, Sharif asserted, “We will serve at the Centre as well as in Punjab.” He concluded by expressing the intention of his government to foster good relations with the entire world, particularly Pakistan’s immediate neighbours, signaling a commitment to diplomacy and international cooperation.
According to media reports, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari has said that he cannot comment on Sharif’s offer until the election results become clearer.