In the aftermath of the recent parliamentary elections in Pakistan, Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), led by jailed former Prime Minister Imran Khan, has declared itself the winner. However, it seems that two days after the election results were announced, Pakistan is still facing a difficult government formation process.
Despite being seen as the clear favorite, former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif failed to secure a majority with his party and would have to make do with only 71 seats in parliament with 95 percent of constituencies counted. Meanwhile, independent candidates who are believed to have ties to Imran Khan and PTI surprisingly won 100 out of 266 seats.
This has prompted Sharif’s PML-N to start coalition talks with the third-placed popular party PPP led by Bilawal Bhutto Zardar. Perhaps Sharif will try to court possible defectors among the independent candidates or form an alliance with a small party in order to find a majority.
Unfortunately, Pakistan’s elections were marred by violence and a suspension of mobile and internet services. Activists claimed that these measures prevented some people from casting their votes. The country is currently in a deep economic crisis with massive inflation. Despite this, there has been repeated unrest and instability in Pakistan since its founding over 75 years ago, which lies between India and Afghanistan. Even under civilian governments, the powerful military was seen as the force that could determine political success or failure.
In response to this tumultuous situation, Pakistani army chief Asim Munir urged political leaders to set aside their own interests and serve the people for the betterment of the nation as a whole. He emphasized that it is essential for them to “end up in safe hands” that have “a healing power” to break the cycle of anarchy and polarization that has plagued Pakistan for so long.
Overall, it remains uncertain what will happen next as Pakistan tries to navigate this difficult period of government formation while dealing with ongoing economic problems and political instability.