Winners and losers of Pakistan elections

NEW DELHI:

Imran Khan

sprung a surprise.

Nawaz Sharif

claimed victory. The

army

is hoping for a “unified government“. The melee that is Pakistan election has captivated the attention of the world since no clear victor has emerged even after two days of counting.
The results so far point towards a hung verdict, the second in a row in Pakistan election, with counting still under way in a dozen-odd seats.

Surprisingly, jailed former PM Imran Khan defied all the odds and predictions to win the support of the people. The candidates backed by his party PTI have cornerned the maximum number of seats in the National Assembly, prompting Imran to declare victory from jail.
But Nawaz Sharif, who was widely expected to sweep the election, has also claimed victory and is looking to cobble together a coalition government with the help of PPP(P) and other Independents. At 71, his PML(N) has won the highest number of seats for a party in a House dominated by Imran-backed Independents.

Confused about the results? Here are winners & losers of the

Pakistan elections

2024:
Winners
Army: No matter who gets elected, the “establishment” always wins. That’s the unsaid rule in Pakistan regardless of who is contesting. In 2018, army-backed Imran Khan went on to form the government in the country after his PTI emerged as the single largest party. In 2024, army-backed Nawaz Sharif is likely to form the next one if he manages to muster enough support. In a nudge to Sharif, Pakistan’s army chief General Asim Munir on Saturday called for a “unified” government and urged the political leadership to “rise above self-interests” and synergise efforts in governing and serving the people. If a Nawaz Sharif government takes form, the real winner will be the army.

Imran Khan: The PTI chief was left without a bat but still managed to hit it out of the park with the results suggesting that a majority of Pakistanis are still supporting the World Cup-winning former captain, who is languishing in jail. Over 90 allies of Imran, who are contesting as Independents, have won in the general election. The surprise result prompted the former PM to claim victory through an AI-generated video posted on social media. His party is also looking for form a government. But whether or not it manages to do that, the result will surely be heartening for Imran, who had his back to the wall before the elections. He was embroiled in a litany of cases, was barred from contesting the polls, his party’s “bat” symbol was banned and dozens of his close aides were thrown in jail. Despite this, popular support was clearly on his side with people denying Nawaz Sharif a clear victory.
Nawaz Sharif: In the 2018 general election, the PML(N) supremo was a convict facing a 10-year jail term. Six years later, he is eyeing another shot at power. The fortunes of Pakistan’s three-time former PM have definitely reversed in the last six years, especially due to Imran’s ouster from office and military’s support tipping in his favour. He won his seat in Lahore comfortably amid allegations of rigging and is now facing a tricky challenge to convince Independents and other parties to join hands with him. While it may not have been a resounding triumph, the very fact that Nawaz is on the brink of a return is enough to show how fortunes of Pakistan PMs can change in a matter of years, for better or worse.

Nawaz Sharif delivers victory address despite Imran Khan’s PTI leading vote count in Pakistan Election

Losers
Voters: In a country crippled by economic crises, the voters end up paying a heavy price of political uncertainty and “stage-managed” elections. The February 8 elections took place in the shadow of violence and widespread claims of rigging. The questionable democratic process, prolonged post-poll uncertainty and indirect interference of the army in the electoral process leave the common man in Pakistan short-changed in the end.
Democracy: If the voters suffer, how can democracy prevail? The elections in Pakistan have always been mired in allegations of “match-fixing” with army chief playing the role of “chief selector”. The current one was no different. The military’s overbearing interference throughout the process, widespread claims of rigging and the institutional targeting of leaders who don’t enjoy the backing of the current army chief raise concerning questions about Pakistan’s fraught experiments with democracy. No surprise why some observers call elections in Pakistan the “mother of all selections”.
Army: Yes, the army does have an eventual say in the elections but the fact that its out-of-favour “laadla” Imran managed to rub his popularity in the establishment’s face is reason enough to wonder if it really wields as much control as the world believed. Many poll pundits thought that Nawaz Sharif’s return was a foregone conclusion. But the voters, by electing Imran-backed candidates, showed that army’s hold on the country is weakening.

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