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Riggings and fraud allegations surrounding the election results in Pakistan have sparked widespread attention and criticism from the international community.

However, what is even more concerning is the lack of a clear winner following the polls, indicating that the formation of a government will be a complex and controversial task.

Both PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif and PTI chief Imran Khan have expressed determination to form a government at the federal level, claiming to have the majority support. On the other hand, the PPP has stated that without its support, no one can establish a government in Punjab, Balochistan, and the Center, signaling their intention to secure a significant share of power in future negotiations.

It is worth noting that prior to the polls, the PML-N supported Nawaz Sharif as the preferred premier, while the PPP advocated for Bilawal Bhutto Zardari as its candidate, and the PTI made it clear that it will not settle for anyone other than Imran Khan at the helm.

However, the election results and the manner in which they were conducted indicate that no one can be certain about their chances of becoming the premier. This uncertainty adds another layer of complexity to the already intricate process of government formation in Pakistan.

Nawaz, in his apparent victory speech, appeared remarkably disheartened and taken aback by his party’s dismal performance in the Punjab region. As a result, he seems to have given his brother Shehbaz the authority to negotiate whatever deal he deems necessary, be it with the PPP or other parties. It seems increasingly likely that Nawaz will not be pursuing the role of prime minister, and instead, his brother Shehbaz, may step into that position.

Meanwhile, the PPP recognises its advantageous position and holds considerable leverage in the upcoming negotiations with the PML-N. Already, a meeting between Asif Ali Zardari and Shehbaz Sharif has taken place, suggesting a willingness to engage in discussions.

During these negotiations, the PPP will likely have sought to assert its authority and maximize its gains.

Various sources have even floated the idea of a proposed power-sharing arrangement, where the PML-N candidate assumes the premiership for a specific period, followed by Bilawal as the premier for the remaining tenure. Nevertheless, it remains uncertain whether the PML-N can entice the PPP with alternatives such as the presidency, finance ministry, or foreign ministry.

The outcome of these negotiations is yet to be seen, and it will undoubtedly shape the political landscape in the days to come.

But complicating this matter is the PTI’s claim that it is the single largest party as per form 45 results and will challenge PML-N wins in courts and get the results reversed. PTI doesn’t seem to be in mood to negotiate with PML-N or PPP and will likely continue with its aggressive approach. While it seems unlikely that it will get its way into assemblies, it can continue to keep things on boil, and may not allow those in power to rule easily or for stability to return.

The ongoing political situation in Pakistan is fraught with uncertainty as the country’s major political parties, PML-N and PPP, are expected to engage in heated negotiations to secure the top post of the premiership. The outcome of their negotiations will determine whether they can form a coalition government and rule for the next five years or if their internal bickering will allow PTI to gain further momentum. The possibility of PTI claiming a single-party majority cannot be dismissed.

Amidst this political turmoil, Pakistan finds itself in familiar territory, and the days ahead will undoubtedly be critical in shaping the country’s future.

The article does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Business Recorder or its owners

Umair Jamal

The writer is Head of the Political Desk at Business Recorder (Digital)

Comments

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KU Feb 12, 2024 11:53am
We should not worry about the next PM, what we should fear is the next grand design of the dodgy leaders and their new found lovely company, chaos seems to be a sure-bet reality, for people of course.
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zh Feb 16, 2024 10:07pm
The leader of the establishment's decision-making process is puzzling. He is appointing someone for the prime minister position who has a track record of failure in all aspects of governance.
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