Pakistan’s parliamentary elections have ended with the opposition party of jailed former Prime Minister Imran Khan, Tehreek-e-Insaf, declaring victory. Following this, the Pakistan Muslim League, the party of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, also claimed victory. PTI chairman Gohar Khan announced the party’s success and intention to form the next government during a press conference in Islamabad on Saturday. He spoke of electoral fraud and called for the country’s institutions to respect the will of the voter.
Two days after the elections, the government formation process continues in Pakistan. Sharif, initially believed to be the likely winner, failed to secure a majority with his party, leaving them with only 71 seats in parliament after 95 percent of the constituencies were counted. Independent candidates, most of whom were affiliated with Imran Khan and the PTI, won 100 of the 266 seats, complicating the situation.
Despite this, Sharif’s PML-N has already started coalition talks with PPP, the third-placed popular party led by Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, in hopes of forming a government. There is also speculation that Sharif may attempt to court possible defectors among the independent candidates and form an alliance with a smaller party.
The election process was marred by violence as well as a suspension of mobile and internet services, barring some people from casting their votes. Pakistan is currently in the midst of a severe economic crisis with major inflation. There has been a history of unrest and instability in the country, which is located between India and Afghanistan, since it was founded more than 75 years ago.
The military has historically held the influence over the country, ruling for more than half the time since Pakistan’s inception. Even under civilian governments, the powerful military was seen as a determining force in the success or failure of political leadership.
The elections will be overshadowed by violence and suspension of mobile and internet services. However, activists argue that the latter has prevented some people from voting. The country is currently suffering from a severe economic crisis with severe inflation.
In the 75 years since Pakistan was founded, there has been a recurrent to unrest and unrest in the country, which lies between India and Afghanistan. The military has ruled for most of that time. Even under civilian governments, the powerful military was seen as the force that could determine success or failure of political leadership.
Therefore, army chief Asim Munir urged political leaders to go beyond their own interests and serve the people. It is important that the country ends up in “safe hands” that have “the healing power to break the cycle of anarchy and polarization,” he said.