Efforts for the formation of a coalition government in Pakistan have escalated among the three main political parties following the general elections, which revealed a hung Parliament amidst allegations of rigging. The delayed announcement of results, coupled with cries of foul play from several parties, has cast a shadow over the electoral process. As the dust settles on the election outcome, Pakistan awaits the formation of a coalition government, guided by strategic alliances and political manoeuvres shaping the nation’s future trajectory.
Earlier, former Pakistan prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s call for a unity government to navigate Pakistan through its challenges received backing from Pakistan Army Chief General Asim Munir.
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) published results for 264 out of 265 contested seats in the 266-member National Assembly. One constituency’s result was withheld due to fraud complaints, while another seat’s election was postponed following a candidate’s demise.
Independent candidates, primarily backed by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), secured 101 seats, followed by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) with 75 seats, and the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) with 54 seats. The Muttahida Qaumi Movement Pakistan (MQM-P) obtained 17 seats, with smaller parties winning the remaining 12 seats.
PML-N Secures Support Of Independent Candidate Backed By PTI
The PML-N secured the support of an independent candidate previously backed by the PTI. Wasim Qadir, a PTI-backed candidate who triumphed over PML-N’s Sheikh Rohail Asghar in Lahore’s National Assembly-121 constituency, has joined the PML-N ranks after a meeting with Maryam Nawaz, daughter of party leader Nawaz Sharif.
“I have joined PML-N as it is my home,” Qadir stated following the meeting, as per news agency PTI’s report which further stated sources within the PML-N as revealing ongoing efforts to sway more PTI-backed winners to their side within the next 24 to 48 hours, aiming to reduce dependency on the PPP.
PML-N, PPP, MQM-P Hold Coalition Talks
To form a government, a party must secure 133 seats out of the 265 contested seats in the National Assembly. The PML-N, leading the coalition efforts, engaged in discussions with various parties, including the MQM-P.
Shehbaz Sharif, President of the PML-N, engaged in discussions with PPP leaders Asif Ali Zardari and Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari in Lahore, culminating in a joint statement committing to stabilising the nation.
After a meeting between PML-N and MQM-P leaders, a statement released by Sharif’s party indicated a “principle agreement” to collaborate in the upcoming government. “We will work together in the interest of the country and public,” the statement affirmed, as per news agency PTI’s report.
Negotiations between the PML-N and PPP involve discussions over key positions. While the PPP demands the prime minister’s slot for Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, the PML-N is cautious not to concede this demand entirely, the report stated.
According to the report, sources suggest that if negotiations with the PPP fail, the PML-N is open to forming a coalition with MQM, JUI-F, and other smaller parties, with Shehbaz Sharif as prime minister and Maryam Sharif as Chief Minister of Punjab.
Analysts doubt the PTI’s ability to form a government independently, emphasising the necessity of alliances with major parties like the PML-N or PPP, the report stated. The PTI rejected attempts at creating a “PDM 2.0” coalition, blaming the PDM for Pakistan’s current challenges.
In a statement, the PTI demanded the resignation of the Chief Election Commissioner and ECP members, accusing them of facilitating democratic manipulation.
Earlier, Pakistan Army Chief Gen Munir stressed the importance of a unified government representing Pakistan’s diverse polity, urging political maturity and unity from all parties.
Pakistan President Dr Arif Alvi urged political parties and institutions to respect the voters’ mandate, emphasising the importance of recognising citizens’ voices, particularly women and youth. Alvi was PTI’s senior leader before former prime minister Imran Khan made him President in 2018.
PPP To Convene Central Executive Committee
The PPP will convene a Central Executive Committee meeting in Islamabad on Monday to discuss crucial decisions regarding government formation.
In an editorial, the Dawn newspaper highlighted Pakistan’s political uncertainty and the challenges facing the PML-N in cobbling together a coalition government, reflecting on the bitter reality of post-election dynamics.
“As the wheeling and dealing proceeds, two things are clear: one, that however the PML-N cobbles this coalition together, its ‘victory’ will be more bitter than sweet,” it stated in an editorial. “Without the outcome it had hoped for, it is now left to perform that uneasy dance of give and take for political survival. This is certainly not the fantasy Sharif harboured when he returned to Pakistan after four years abroad,” the editorial added.
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