Replay
The Sound Kitchen
Raksha Bandhan
 
Listen Download Podcast
  • RFI English News flash 04h00 - 04h10 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 08/24 04h00 GMT
  • Paris Live AM 04h10 - 04h30 GMT Mon-Fri
    Features and analysis 08/24 04h10 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 05h00 - 05h10 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 08/24 05h00 GMT
  • Paris Live AM 05h10 - 05h30 GMT Mon-Fri
    Features and analysis 08/24 05h10 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 06h00 - 06h10 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 08/24 06h00 GMT
  • Paris Live AM 06h10 - 06h30 GMT Mon-Fri
    Features and analysis 08/24 06h10 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 06h30 - 06h33 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 08/24 06h30 GMT
  • Paris Live AM 06h33 - 06h59 GMT Mon-Fri
    Features and analysis 08/24 06h33 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 07h00 - 07h10 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 08/24 07h00 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 07h30 - 07h33 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 08/24 07h30 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 14h00 - 14h03 GMT Sat-Sun
    News bulletin 08/21 14h00 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 14h00 - 14h06 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 08/23 14h00 GMT
  • Paris Live Weekend 14h03 - 14h30 GMT Sat-Sun
    Features and analysis 08/21 14h03 GMT
  • Paris Live PM 14h06 - 14h30 GMT Mon-Fri
    Features and analysis 08/23 14h06 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 14h30 - 14h33 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 08/23 14h30 GMT
  • Paris Live PM 14h33 - 14h59 GMT Mon-Fri
    Features and analysis 08/23 14h33 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 16h00 - 16h03 GMT Sat-Sun
    News bulletin 08/21 16h00 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 16h00 - 16h06 GMT Sat-Sun
    News bulletin 08/23 16h00 GMT
  • Paris Live Weekend 16h03 - 16h30 GMT Sat-Sun
    Features and analysis 08/21 16h03 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 16h30 - 16h33 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 08/23 16h30 GMT
  • Paris Live Weekend 16h33 - 17h00 GMT Sat-Sun
    Features and analysis 08/21 16h33 GMT
To take full advantage of multimedia content, you must have the Flash plugin installed in your browser. To connect, you need to enable cookies in your browser settings. For an optimal navigation, the RFI site is compatible with the following browsers: Internet Explorer 8 and above, Firefox 10 and +, Safari 3+, Chrome 17 and + etc.
Asia-Pacific

Nawaz Sharif to recruit independents to avoid new Pakistan coalition government

media Pakistani PM-in-waiting Nawaz Sharif's nephew, Hamza Shahbaz Tony Cross/RFI

Pakistan’s general election has seen a swing to the Pakistan Muslim League-N which has secured  its leader Nawaz Sharif a third stint  as prime minister. But provisional results do not give the conservative party an overall majority unless it can recruit some of the over 20 independents to its ranks.

 “We have bagged 126 national seats on our own and we are closely in touch with independent members who are willing to join us,” Sharif’s son, Hamza Shahbaz Sharif, who has been elected to the National Assembly, told RFI on Monday. “I feel that we will have a comfortable majority while forming the government at the federal level.” 

Dossier: Pakistan General Election 2013

Disappointment with the outgoing People’s Party-led coalition led to a massive swing to Sharif’s PML-N and party leaders, several of whom are members of the Sharif family, are relishing the prospect of power.

Hamza Shahbaz is the son of Nawaz’s powerful brother Shahbaz, who is currently chief minister of Punjab.

Although Christian lawyer and parliamentary candidate George Nicholas Robinson is among several activists who accuse him and his father of shady deals, he points to a report by corruption watchdog Transparency International that said Punjab province was the least corrupt of Pakistan’s provinces.

And he claims that the party’s success in Punjab is due to its success in running the province and its capital, Lahore.

Throughout the campaign Nawaz Sharif said he wanted a mandate to rule alone, although most pundits predicted that he would have to form a coalition.

Saturday’s result has not quite given him enough seats to do so.

But a recently adopted change to the constitution might sort that problem out.

“Under the new constitution law the independent members who are 22 or so have to join some political party within three days,” political analyst Farooq Hasnat explains. “So probably, even if 60 per cent join Nawaz Sharif, then his number will go up.”

Not only do the former independents have to choose a party but the law also obliges them to vote along party lines throughout the life of the parliament.

Nawaz Sharif said he wanted to avoid having to form a coalition so as to have the strong government Pakistan needs at the present time.

“Obviously coalition government has its own problems,” Hamza Shahbaz says. “There is blackmailing, there is wheeling and dealing, you have to negotiate every bill you pass in the legislature. So I think with a clear mandate, with a stable government, we will be able to concentrate on the challenges that Pakistan is facing right now – the economy, terrorism, the menace of corruption and, also, revisiting  foreign policy.”

India has already declared that it can work with Sharif and the PML-N seems to want to push the peace process forward, if only because it will be good for business, particularly in Punjab and Lahore, which is just kilometres away from the border.

Washington has also been positive about Sharif’s election, despite the fact that he told the BBC that he would end Pakistan’s collaboration with the US’s war on terror.

That was under pressure from cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan, who wants to stop the US drone strikes that have cost civilian lives in the tribal areas and the north-western Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.

Khan’s and his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf is likely to take control of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

Hamza Shahbaz says his uncle will be able to resist American pressure, as he did when Pakistan’s nuclear weapons tests went ahead during his first term in office.

But he fights shy of repeating the war-on-terror pledge.

“I’m not saying we are going to be tougher on the United States,” he says. “I’m only saying that the people of Pakistan are the major stakeholders of this war on terror and no-one knows after the withdrawal of American forces from Afghanistan what kind of situation will emerge.

“We respect what the United States expects from Pakistan but, at the same time, US and European countries should understand what Pakistan is going through.”

Pakistan faces big problems and, according to analyst Farooq Hasnat, this could be make or break time for the PML-N.

Sharif has the mandate, he probably has the majority. If he fails he has no excuses.

 

Related
 
Sorry but the period of time connection to the operation is exceeded.