Islamabad, Nov. 20 (Reuters): The main pro-military Pakistan Muslim League party is poised to get its candidate elected Prime Minister tomorrow and form a government to continue President Pervez Musharraf’s foreign and economic policies.
“Inshallah (God willing), we will get the majority,” the party’s prime ministerial candidate, Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali, said after filing his nomination for the post.
The party’s two main rivals, a six-party alliance of hardline Islamic groups and a liberal party led by former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, look set for a spell in the Opposition after talks over forming a coalition broke down, analysts said.
The Muslim League has already demonstrated its strength by winning a parliamentary ballot for the speaker’s post yesterday without needing the support of its rivals, thanks to a successful campaign to woo smaller parties to its side.
It says it is confident of victory again tomorrow, but its majority is likely to be thin, indicating that the first civilian government since a 1999 military coup might not be stable.
The likely exclusion from government of the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal, an Islamic alliance that won 60 seats in last month’s elections on a wave of anti-US sentiment, may reassure Pakistani investors and proponents of the US-led war on terror.
The Islamists strongly oppose Musharraf’s support for the United States, want foreign coalition forces to leave Pakistani bases and say they would like to impose Islamic sharia law.
The pro-military Muslim League Quaid-e-Azam (PML-QA) won 118 seats in October’s general election, well short of a majority in the 342-member Assembly, but has attracted small parties to its side as well as defectors from Bhutto’s Pakistan Peoples Party Parliamentarians.
Political analysts said the Muslim League was likely to continue Musharraf’s policies and the way he has handled tension with India over Kashmir, support for the US campaign in Afghanistan and gradual economic reform at home.