PM Modi Calls Imran Khan, Talks Peace

NEW DELHI —  Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday spoke to Pakistan's Prime Minister elect Imran Khan and congratulated him for his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Party emerging as the largest political party in the National Assembly in the recently conducted general elections.

In his conversation with Imran Khan, PM Modi expressed hope that democracy will take deeper roots in Pakistan.

India on Saturday said it desired a prosperous and progressive Pakistan, and hoped that the new government in Islamabad will work constructively to build a safe, stable and secure South Asia free of terror and violence, in its first reaction on elections in that country.

Khan on Monday said he will take oath as prime minister on August 11, even as his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party was striving to get the required numbers to form a government.

The PTI, led by 65-year-old Khan, has emerged as the single largest party in the National Assembly after the July 25 elections, but it is still short of numbers to form the government on its own. Khan's party on Sunday announced that it is trying to reach out to smaller parties and independents to form the next government.

Khan said he will take oath as Prime Minister on 11th of next month (August), state-run Radio Pakistan reported.

"I have also decided about chief minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa which I will announce in the next 48 hours. Whatever I have decided in this regard is in the best interest of people," he said while addressing PTI members of provincial assembly in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.

In Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, the PTI has won a two-thirds majority by bagging 65 seats in the assembly of 99 members.

He said alleviation of poverty from interior Sindh will be among top priorities of his government.

On Saturday, PTI spokesman Naeemul Haque told reporters that the party chief will take oath as the prime minister before August 14.

Haque said that he hoped the president would call an assembly session and Khan would take oath as premier before the Independence day.

He said Khan would prefer a peoples' ceremony of oath-taking where thousands can watch him take the oath as prime minister.

"Perhaps D-Chowk area may be the right place to do it," he said, referring to Islamabad's famous D-Chowk where the party had staged its 126-day sit-in in 2014 against alleged rigging in the 2013 general elections.

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