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Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Barrister Gohar Ali Khan has claimed that PTI is in the position to form governments in both the Center and Punjab, besides Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. However, the party’s position in the National Assembly and Punjab Assembly, as well as other political indicators, contradicts Gohar’s claim.
Let’s examine why PTI cannot form governments in the Center and Punjab.
Although PTI has emerged as the largest party in the National Assembly (NA) with 96 general seats won by its backed independent candidates, six other independent candidates have also won the election but are not affiliated with PTI.
To form a government in the Center, a party needs to win at least 133 general seats out of the total 266 general seats in the NA or make a coalition with one or more other parties to secure a majority in the lower house of the parliament.
In the case of PTI, the situation is not favorable for forming a government in the Center because neither does the party have enough seats to form the government solely, nor does it have any political ally to achieve a majority.
Another obstacle for PTI in forming the government in the Center is the issue of reserved seats. The National Assembly has 70 reserved seats, 60 for women and 10 for non-Muslim minorities. However, it is feared that PTI would get none from it as all its candidates have won the election as independent candidates and reserved seats are allocated only to a party that contests the election with its electoral symbol.
Thus, the task of forming the government in the Center seems impossible for PTI in this scenario. However, if it makes a coalition with the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), it can easily come into power in the Center. However, the party has categorically announced that it will not ally with the PPP.
On the other side, Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N), PPP, and Muttahida Qaumi Movement Pakistan (MQM-P) are in a position to easily form a coalition government in the Center. PML-N has won 77 NA seats, PPP has won 54 seats, and MQM-P has won 17 NA seats. In total, these seats add up to 148, more than a simple majority in the National Assembly.
Additionally, these parties will also receive their shares in reserved seats, further strengthening their position.
The Punjab Assembly consists of 371 seats, including 297 general seats and 74 reserved seats—66 for women and 8 for religious minorities.
PTI-backed independent candidates have won 116 seats out of the 297 general seats, which falls short of the 149 seats required for a simple majority in the house. It is important to note that out of the total 138 independent candidates who won elections in Punjab, 22 do not belong to PTI.
PTI lacks the simple majority required to form the government in the province. Similar to the National Assembly (NA), PTI has no political ally in the Punjab Assembly to form a coalition government. Additionally, like the NA, the party faces challenges regarding reserved seats.
On the other hand, PML-N has emerged as the single largest party in the Punjab Assembly, securing 137 general seats out of 297. Although the party needs 12 more seats for a simple majority, this seems achievable as 22 independent candidates could potentially join PML-N. Moreover, PML-N’s ally party PML has won 7 seats in the provincial assembly, and PPP has secured 10 seats. Additionally, PML-N and its allied parties will also receive shares from reserved seats, further solidifying their dominant position in the house. Forming the Punjab government appears to be a relatively straightforward task for them.