New Delhi: As the general elections in Pakistan resulted in no clear majority for any party, the country’s army chief Gen Asim Munir on Saturday supported former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s proposal to form a coalition government with other democratic forces. Sharif, who has the backing of the Pakistan Army, made the appeal on Friday to overcome the economic and political challenges facing the country. He is a three-time former prime minister and leads the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party, which secured 73 seats in the National Assembly.
The largest share of 102 seats went to independents allied with the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party of Imran Khan, another former prime minister who is currently in jail. Khan’s party has declared victory in the elections.
Other parties that won seats in the National Assembly are the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) with 54, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) with 17 and 11 seats for smaller parties. The Election Commission of Pakistan announced the results of 257 seats out of 265. One seat was not contested due to the death of a candidate.
A party needs 133 seats out of 265 to form a government in the National Assembly. A simple majority of 169 seats out of 336, including the reserved seats for women and minorities, is also required.
The general election was marred by accusations of rigging, violence and a nationwide mobile phone blackout. The counting of votes is still ongoing. In a statement on Saturday, Gen Munir said that a unified government of all democratic forces would reflect the diversity and pluralism of Pakistan.
He said that the purpose of elections and democracy was to serve the people of Pakistan and not to create winners and losers. The Pakistan Army, which has ruled the country for more than half of its 75 years of history, has a strong influence on security and foreign policy matters.
He said that Pakistan needed a stable and healing leadership to move away from the politics of chaos and division that was not suitable for a progressive country of 250 million people. He said that elections were a way to determine the will of the people and not a zero-sum game.
He also said that the people of Pakistan had shown their trust in the Constitution of Pakistan and it was the duty of all political parties to respond with political maturity and unity.
On the other hand, Khan, 71, claimed victory in the general elections in an AI-generated audio-video message on Saturday. He thanked the people for voting for PTI and urged them to protect the integrity of their votes from the establishment.