Election in Pakistan: A pact may prevent supporters of Imran Khan from participating

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Following the results of elections in which supporters of the incarcerated former Prime Minister Imran Khan came out on top, Pakistan’s second and third party blocs have reached an agreement to work together.

In a joint statement, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz Sharif (PMLN) and the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) of Bilawal Bhutto Zardari agreed to collaborate in order to achieve political stability.

If they do end up forming a government, it is highly possible that Mr. Khan’s followers will be upset by the action.

Due to the fact that his PTI party was not permitted to participate in the election, the majority of its prospective candidates ran as independents.

Earlier, the police in Rawalpindi used tear gas to disperse a crowd of people who were standing in support of Mr. Khan.

Independent candidates were victorious in 101 of the National Assembly seats, as indicated by the final results. According to a research conducted by the BBC, 93 of them were given to candidates supported by the PTI.

They are now in a position of superiority over the PMLN, who won 75, and the PPP, which gained 54.

After forming an alliance in 2022 with the intention of removing Mr. Khan from office, the two parties controlled until August of this year.

There has also been a stunning return in the polls for the MQM party, which is located in Karachi. They have won 17 seats, and they have the potential to participate in any coalition.

In the midst of ongoing legal battles, independent candidates who were unsuccessful in their bids have bombarded the courts with charges of vote misconduct.

Mr. Sharif’s PMLN and the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), which was prevented from participating in the election, have both stated that they intend to form the next government.

The outcome came as a surprise to the majority of observers, who had anticipated that Mr. Sharif’s party, which is widely believed to have the support of the powerful military, would emerge victorious. This was due to the fact that Mr. Khan had been imprisoned on allegations ranging from corruption to having married inappropriately, and his party had been excluded from the vote sheet.

It is necessary for a candidate to demonstrate that they are in charge of a coalition that holds a simple majority of 169 seats in the National Assembly in order to be able to rule.

There are a total of 366 seats in the National legislature, of which 266 are selected through direct vote and 70 are reserved. Of these 70 seats, 60 are reserved for women and 10 are designated for non-Muslims. The allocation of these seats is determined by the strength of each party in the legislature.

Independent candidates are not qualified to be given reserved seats in parliament in Pakistan, as stated under the country’s legislative regulations.

Along with a number of other parties, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has called for demonstrations against the results, claiming that they have been manipulated.

On Sunday, the police in Rawalpindi closed the streets surrounding the building that houses the election commission with barbed wire and huge trucks, so preventing any protesters from entering the premises during the demonstration.

Chanting could be heard on the street for around ninety minutes by a mob of several hundred protesters. When that happened, the mood changed. The mob was dispersed by the police by the use of multiple rounds of tear gas, and it eventually left the area.

After speaking with the BBC, the Punjab police stated that there was a section 144 in effect, which was a rule from the colonial era that prohibited gatherings of more than four individuals.

In spite of the fact that this ban had been implemented prior to the election and would remain in effect until the 12th of February, it specified that people were not permitted to carry firearms and that they were not prevented from gathering.

The chairman of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) had issued a call for peaceful demonstrations to take place in front of the commission headquarters where they were concerned about “forged” results.

The PTI party allegedly claimed that the results of at least 18 seats in the National Assembly were “falsely changed” by election officials, according to reports from Pakistani media.

On Saturday, Mr. Sharif, who is believed to have the support of the military, made a request to other parties, requesting their assistance in forming a government that is based on unity.

Despite the odds, the election demonstrates that Imran Khan has a strong support base.

Analysts have expressed concern that Pakistan may be in for a “prolonged period of political instability” since negotiations between Mr. Khan’s political adversaries have begun.

During an interview with the BBC, Dr. Farzana Shaikh, a researcher at Chatham House, stated that it was highly improbable that the independents with ties to Khan would be granted permission to form a government. Furthermore, many individuals were concerned that any alliance between Mr. Sharif and the PPP would result in a “weak and unstable coalition.”

Legal challenges have been filed in the courts by at least six candidates who were supported by the PTI but did not win their seats. These candidates are attempting to have the outcome of the election annulled.

Yasmin Rashid, who fought against Mr. Sharif in Lahore, is one of the individuals involved. On several forms, the petitioners argue that there was collaboration in the process of altering the results of the election.

Officials from Pakistan have denied that there were any violations. It has also been stated that the PMLN has established a legal team in order to handle charges of rigging.

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