NewsNew Government is formed in Pakistan, as protestors flood the streets

New Government is formed in Pakistan, as protestors flood the streets

Supporters of the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) political party outside a provincial election commission office during a protest in Karachi, Pakistan, on Saturday, Feb. 17, 2024. . Photographer: Asim Hafeez/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Supporters of the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) political party outside a provincial election commission office during a protest in Karachi, Pakistan, on Saturday, Feb. 17, 2024. . Photographer: Asim Hafeez/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Images source: © GETTY | Bloomberg
10:43 AM EST, February 21, 2024

After ten days of heated negotiations, two major Pakistani political parties announced yesterday that they had reached a formal agreement to form a coalition government.

In the intricate tapestry of South Asian politics, Pakistan's recent electoral saga is a testament to the nation's enduring struggle for democratic stability and governance. At the beginning of the month, Pakistan was at a political crossroads, grappling with the aftermath of a hotly contested election that failed to produce a clear winner. It led to a hung parliament and sparked widespread allegations of electoral manipulation.

Elections controversy

The election saw a fractured political landscape, with no single party securing an outright majority in the National Assembly, necessitating forming a coalition government. The situation was further complicated by the involvement of independent candidates, many of whom were affiliated with Imran Khan, the jailed former Prime Minister. These candidates emerged as a significant force, securing the most seats, albeit insufficient to form a government independently.

The electoral process was marred by controversies, including a startling admission of election result rigging by a senior official in Rawalpindi, which prompted the election commission to launch an inquiry. This revelation fueled the already simmering tensions and protests by supporters of Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, who vehemently contested the election outcomes. Imran Khan's party called nationwide protests against alleged vote-rigging in last week's polls and is seeking a recount in about half the seats it lost

Shehbaz Sharif, Pakistan's prime minister from the Pakistan Muslim League-N party, second left
Shehbaz Sharif, Pakistan's prime minister from the Pakistan Muslim League-N party, second left© GETTY | Bloomberg

In the ensuing scramble to cobble together a governing coalition, two of Pakistan's major political entities, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PMLN) and the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), spearheaded the formation of a six-party coalition. Despite its diverse composition, this alliance secured a comfortable majority, nominating PMLN leader Shehbaz Sharif for the prime ministership.

The formation of this coalition marks a significant moment in Pakistan's political history, suggesting a momentary pause in the country's perennial governance crisis. However, the coalition's diversity and the circumstances surrounding its formation pose questions about its stability and future governance in Pakistan. The PPP's decision to join the government without cabinet positions underscores the complex negotiations and compromises of Pakistan's coalition politics.

This period in Pakistan's political evolution reflects deeper issues within its electoral and governance systems, highlighted by widespread protests and allegations of electoral fraud. The situation underscores the challenges facing democracy in Pakistan, where the interplay between political parties, the judiciary, and the military continues to influence the political landscape.

Supporters of the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) political party outside a provincial election commission office during a protest in Karachi, Pakistan, on Saturday, Feb. 17, 2024.
Supporters of the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) political party outside a provincial election commission office during a protest in Karachi, Pakistan, on Saturday, Feb. 17, 2024. © GETTY | Bloomberg

As Pakistan navigates these tumultuous waters, the international community watches closely, recognizing the country's strategic importance in South Asia. The formation of the new government, while a step towards political stability, is just the beginning of a journey fraught with challenges, including economic recovery, governance reforms, and ensuring the integrity of the electoral process. The coalition's ability to address these issues and govern effectively will be critical in determining Pakistan's future trajectory on the global stage.

Sources: Al Jazeera; Reuters

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