Pakistan: Parties step up efforts for coalition govt as military watches from ringside

No parties secured majority to form the govt

Pakistan coalition govt (L) Supporters holding poster of PTI's Imran Khan, (C) Pakistan Muslim Legue Nawaz (PMLN)'s Nawaz Sharif, (R) Billboard displaying photos of politician Bilawal Bhutto and his sister Asifa Bhutto | Reuters, AFP, Reuters

After a split verdict in the Pakistan general elections, the three main political parties had intensified its efforts to form coalition government on Sunday.

Though PTI-backed independent candidates took lead the elections, with winning 101 seats, the party is in a technical hurdle as the candidates contested without symbol since the court denied its iconic 'cricket bat' symbol.

However, former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) enjoys the support of the army which gives it an advantage.

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has announced the results of 264 out of 265 contested seats in the 266-member National Assembly. The result of one constituency was withheld due to complaints of fraud. Also, election to one seat was postponed after the death of a candidate.

During the final count, PTI was followed by PML-N with 75 seats and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) of Bilawal Zardari Bhutto with 54 seats. While, the Karachi-based Muttahida Qaumi Movement Pakistan (MQM-P) got 17 seats.

With no party gaining the majority to form the government, coalition seems to be the most likely next step. But considering Pakistan's politics, military will have a say in the process ahead of forming the government too.

Pakistan Army chief on Saturday called for unity and asked the other parties to form coalition backing Sharif's call for joining hands to form the government.

Amid coalition talks, the PML-N leaders on Sunday held an hour-long meeting with MQM-P leaders in Lahore. The statement issued after the meeting said they have reached a principle agreement to work together in the government formation.

We will work together in the interest of the country and public, said the statement issued by PML-N. While, MQM's Khalid Maqbool had said that discussions during the meeting did not involve any talks about forming the next government.

"The stability of democracy is more important than anything else," Maqbool said while talking to reporters in Karachi.

Reportedly, PML-N leaders had met PPP leaders on Saturday night and discussed the future coalition. However, Bilawal had denied any such ongoing talks.

Meanwhile, reports said that in case negotiations with PPP failed, PML-N would make a coalition with MQM, JUI-F and other smaller parties including independents. PML-N's Shehbaz Sharif becoming the prime minister is also a scenario in such a case since he is close to the military.

On Saturday, Nawaz Sharif had said that he is not eyeing to become the PM.

It is also believed that a newer version of the Pakistan Democratic Movement coalition (PDM government) under Shehbaz Sharif was more likely.

With PDM 2.0 rumours, PTI had released a statement which said, "The economic and administrative disaster that Pakistan is suffering today is the responsibility of PDM, an incompetent, worthless and rejected group of criminals."

PPP is set to hold its Central Executive Committee meeting at Zardari's House in Islamabad on Monday. Important decisions regarding seat sharing is to be discussed, according to sources.

Pak people shouted out their will

With the results almost final, Pakistan President Arif Alvi said the voters have "not only spoken but shouted out loud their will" in the general elections. He urged all political parties to "respect and recognise" the decision of the citizens.

"I must congratulate the people of Pakistan, especially the women for coming out in huge numbers, withstanding all pressures and standing up for democracy. The youth deserve a special mention, and I praise them for having decided to take charge of the country by participating peacefully in the voting process," Alvi wrote on X. 


Join our WhatsApp Channel to get the latest news, exclusives and videos on WhatsApp