A weak coalition government in Pakistan will find it hard to stabilize relations with its neighbours
The new government in Islamabad will seek to renew ties with China, while dealing with a third Modi government, a hostile Afghanistan – and its own military.
The dust has yet to settle on Pakistan’s election. The official results show that independent candidates aligned to the PTI – the party of Imran Khan – have performed better than anticipated despite Khan’s arrest and conviction. This belies the initial belief that the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) – the party of the Sharif brothers (Nawaz and Shehbaz) – would lead the next government.
The PTI and PML-N both claim victory, but neither has yet secured the requisite numbers to form a government on its own. This increases the probability that a messy coalition government is formed after an extended period of horse-trading. In this context, the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) – the party of the Bhutto-Zardari family – is likely to play a crucial role with the possibility of a power-sharing arrangement with the PML-N.
Pakistan’s Army Chief Asim Munir has called on the country to move on from the politics of ‘anarchy and polarization,’ indicating that the military will try to break the deadlock by propping up a government led by its preferred party(currently the PML-N). Doing so would reaffirm the perennial role of the so-called ‘establishment’ (Pakistan’s military and intelligence services) in pulling the strings of politics.
However, it would also further undermine the legitimacy of the electoral process, which had already been tarnished by slower than anticipated vote counting, the disruption of mobile and internet services on election day and a string of terrorist attacks in the run-up to the polls.
Click here to continue reading the full version of this Expert Comment on the Chatham House website.
Latest News from
The second failed Trident test: Time to scrap or expand Britain’s nuclear capabilities?27/02/2024 15:10:00
The potential nuclear threats posed by Russia and China are complicated by the possibility of a second Trump presidency.
The AU took important action on cybersecurity at its 2024 summit – but more is needed27/02/2024 09:20:00
Leading African Union member states continue to delay ratification of the Malabo convention, limiting harmonized African policymaking on cybersecurity.
China’s ‘renminbi trap’: The economy needs a weaker currency, but Beijing is unable to act23/02/2024 15:10:00
Weakening the currency should be relatively straightforward. But the adverse reaction of China’s trading partners, past experience, and Xi Jinping’s ambitions for the renminbi could combine to prevent it.
Has Pakistan’s new coalition government been handed a poisoned chalice?23/02/2024 12:20:00
Simmering tension between the two coalition partners threatens to hobble the capacity of the new government to tackle the multiple crises facing Pakistan.
Ukraine means enlargement is again the EU’s priority – but not for the reasons it claims20/02/2024 14:10:00
The European Union is using an old tool for a new purpose as it looks to its defence.
Alexei Navalny’s most powerful legacy is urging Russians to imagine their country without Putin19/02/2024 14:10:00
Much like his life’s work, Navalny’s death shows the corrupt brutality of Vladimir Putin’s Russia.
‘Continuity’ Prabowo means change for Indonesia16/02/2024 12:20:00
Prabowo Subianto used the endorsement of the popular outgoing president to win power - but is unlikely to govern as Jokowi’s ‘proxy’.
As Trump threatens NATO, is it time for Europe to get its act together?14/02/2024 10:10:10
Donald Trump’s threats to NATO allies must unite European leaders in the defence of Europe.