Political parties in Pakistan are scrambling to make nominations for the keys posts ahead of the August 15 deadline for the first session of the national and provincial assemblies. Under the Constitution, the first session should be called within 21 days of elections. As the elections were held on July 25, it means that the national assembly and provincial assemblies should meet on or before August 15. Federal Law Minister Ali Zafar said last week that the caretaker wants to complete the transfer of power by August 15. All the political parties as well as the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) are working hard to meet the deadline. The ECP will issue the list of elected members today after they submit the details of expenditures.
An official of the ECP said that the process of notification and allocation of women and minority seats will be completed by August 9 and then president can call the session of the national assembly and governors can summon provincial assemblies. The parliamentary committee of Imran Khan's Pakistan Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, which emerged as the singl largest party in the July 25 elections, is meeting today to formally nominate him as prime minister. It may also decide the names of federal cabinet members, PTI spokesman Fawad Chaudhry said. The party is also expected to finalise the names of Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa chief ministers.
Chaudhry said that the PTI has support of 174 members of the National Assembly and 186 in the Punjab Assembly, which are sufficient to elect the leaders of the each house. Pakistan's National Assembly comprises a total of 342 members, of which 272 are directly elected. A party can only form the government if it manages to clinch 172 seats in total. The PTI had emerged in the lead with 116 NA seats in the polls. The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) is also meeting today to nominate Shehbaz Sharif as joint opposition candidate for the post of Prime Minister. Tough competition is expected between Khan and Sharif.
Sharif will have to settle or the onerous job of leader of the opposition as Khan's part has enough support to form the government. Another important meeting of PML-N and the Pakistan Peoples Party is expected to be held in Islamabad to finalise strategy for the elections of the Prime Minister and the Speaker. The PPP would contest for the seat of Speaker against the nominee of PTI in the National Assembly.