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Pakistan finds itself in a state of uncertainty amid allegations of electoral tampering, casting a shadow over the ongoing vote counting process in the 2024 general elections. As the tally enters its third day, candidates affiliated with the party of former Prime Minister Imran Khan are currently leading, despite their leader’s incarceration. Notably, the Election Commission’s decision to bar PTI leaders from using the party symbol forced them to contest under different banners, adding a layer of complexity to the electoral landscape.
In the assembly of 266 seats, PTI-backed candidates have clinched a significant portion, securing 92 seats, closely followed by Nawaz Sharif-led Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) with 71 seats. Meanwhile, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) holds sway over 54 seats, and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) has garnered 17 seats, as per the Election Commission’s announcement of results for 255 out of 265 seats.
Despite claims of victory from both Imran Khan and Nawaz Sharif, neither camp has come close to achieving a clear majority. With 133 seats required to form a government, the outcome remains uncertain, especially after the postponement of one seat’s election following a candidate’s demise.
Analysts anticipated PML-N’s strong showing, attributing it to Nawaz Sharif’s long-standing influence and purported support from the military establishment. Allegations abound regarding the military’s interference in governance dynamics, with Imran Khan and his supporters accusing the institution of targeting them, claims vehemently denied by the military.
Irrespective of the eventual ruling party or coalition, Pakistan faces daunting challenges ahead, compounded by economic instability marked by soaring inflation and dwindling foreign reserves. Experts outline a laundry list of reforms necessary for the incoming government, including overhauling the tax system, reducing subsidies, privatizing state-owned enterprises, and curbing unproductive expenditures.
Moreover, concerns loom over the legitimacy of the government, compounded by security threats such as the resurgence of Tehreek-e Taliban and simmering insurgencies in regions like Balochistan. The looming IMF program with its stringent conditions further exacerbates the economic predicament, presenting formidable hurdles for any incoming administration, particularly one formed through a potentially fragile coalition.
It would be better for Pakistan that a party that has gained the majority should be allowed to form a government and better not to repeat the history of 2018 elections.