PTI leader Barrister Gohar Khan has said his party intends to form a government on its own. He denied any possibility of forming an alliance with the PML (N) or PPP. “There will be no unity in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab, or the Federation,” he said. Gohar Khan has become a central figure in Pakistan’s politics after the imprisonment of PTI leader Imran Khan. The name of the provincial government and the chief minister will be decided by Tuesday. He further said that no party has contacted our independent candidates. All the independent candidates are in touch, and they have the party’s support. The next course of action will be decided after solving the basic administrative issues.
Two days after Pakistan’s general elections, uncertainty looms over the formation of a government as a divided mandate emerges among the three major parties.
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has announced the results of all the National Assembly constituencies in its latest update. According to the commission, former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party and its affiliates have emerged as the winners with the highest number of seats in the fiercely contested elections. The PTI-affiliated independent candidates have also secured seats in the National Assembly. This has led to the party’s unexpected lead of 97 out of the 265 seats. However, as no single party has attained a majority and several contestants have alleged vote tampering, the future of Pakistan’s political landscape remains highly uncertain.
Reactions of Other Parties
Late on Friday night in Lahore, the leaders of the two major parties, PML-N and the PPP, held a meeting. This meeting took place after Nawaz Sharif, the leader of the PML-N, claimed that his party had emerged as the “winner” in the parliamentary election.
Technically, Sharif’s claim is true because the PTI-backed legislators are considered independent. However, he also acknowledged that his party had failed to secure a simple majority. Therefore, he began discussions with other parties to explore the possibility of forming a coalition government.
Abdul Basit, a research fellow at the S Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore, pointed out to Al Jazeera that the provincial results indicate a close race between the PML-N and independent candidates in Punjab’s provincial assembly. Punjab has a significant number of seats, so it plays a crucial role in government formation.
Basit further emphasized that “it is becoming clear that the two main parties will control two provinces, with the PTI gaining control of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the PPP winning Sindh. Whoever gains control of Punjab will undoubtedly face a challenging situation due to the divided outcome.”
Allegations of Manipulation
As political parties in Pakistan engage in discussions to form a new government, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has accused them of widespread electoral manipulation aimed at preventing them from gaining a majority. Despite initially having the potential to independently establish a government, the PTI now needs coalition support due to these alleged irregularities.
Imran Khan, the leader of the PTI, is currently in jail following corruption convictions. He has affirmed the party’s stance of refusing to participate in a coalition government.
Significantly, the election results suffered a considerable delay. The announcement of outcomes came almost 10 hours after polling ended, despite a deadline set by the country’s electoral authority. The PTI claims tempering several seat results during and after the electoral success. Some candidates have taken legal action, filing petitions with the courts to halt the final results.
Internationally, countries such as the US, the UK, and the EU urged an investigation into the PTI’s allegations. They highlighted the importance of addressing concerns related to electoral integrity.