New Pakistani Prime Minister Avoids Political Showdown with Rival

Posted on: May 15th, 2013 by ABC News No Comments

ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images(ISLAMABAD) — Hoping to get his new administration off on the right foot, Pakistani Prime Minister-elect Nawaz Sharif offered an olive branch Tuesday to another candidate who wanted the job but came up short after 60 percent of eligible voters went to the polls last Saturday.

Former cricket star Imran Khan and his Tehreek-e-Insaf party thought they had a real shot at gaining the most seats in the election, only to win about 32 to Sharif’s bloc of 124, guaranteeing that the once and future Pakistani leader won’t rule with a coalition government.

There were plenty of sour grapes from Khan’s supporters earlier in the week along with demonstrations alleging voter fraud.  Khan couldn’t join in because he fractured his back last week after taking a fall from a speaking platform.

But apparently, Sharif’s visit to Khan’s hospital bed in Lahore went a long way to smooth out bad feelings, with the new prime minister telling reporters afterwards, “Today, we have made peace.  He was receptive and acknowledged my gesture.”

Sharif has more to worry about than a political rivalry.  His country faces threats from the Taliban, strained relations with Afghanistan and decades-long disputes with India.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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