The parliamentary elections in Pakistan have ended, with the opposition party Tehreek-e-Insaf, led by jailed former Prime Minister Imran Khan, declaring victory. Following this announcement, 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.
After two days since the election results were declared, Pakistan is still in the process of forming its government. Initially thought to be a likely winner, Sharif failed to secure a majority with his party and now has only 71 seats in parliament after 95 percent of constituencies were counted. Independent candidates won 100 seats out of 266, making it difficult for any single party to form a government.
Despite this setback, Sharif’s PML-N has already begun coalition talks with PPP, the third-placed popular party led by Bilawal Bhutto Zardari. There is also speculation that Sharif may attempt to court possible defectors among 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 in some areas. Pakistan is currently suffering from a severe economic crisis with major inflation. There has been unrest and instability in the country since it was founded more than 75 years ago.
The military has historically held significant influence over Pakistan and ruled for more than half of its history since its founding. Even under civilian governments, they remained seen as a determining force in political leadership.
Asim Munir, army chief urged political leaders to put aside their own interests and serve their people. It is essential that Pakistan ends up in “safe hands” that possess “the healing power to break