By Manish Anand
New Delhi, February 10: In the face of an outright defeat, former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif last night spoke to supporters to state that he would be hoping for the formation of a unity government. A day later, Pakistani Army Chief Asim Munir spoke against “politics of anarchy and polarization”.
The spin masters in Pakistan are now laying spotlight on “fractured” mandate. There are suggestions in some quarters that the winning independent candidates with allegiance to jailed former Prime Minister Imran Khan may be coerced to join either the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) or Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) to shore up their numbers in the National Assembly.
Pakistan’s leading daily, Dawn, came out with a strong Editorial against attempts to coerce the winning Independent members of the National Assembly. The daily argued that they be allowed to join the party of their choices while stressing that Imran Khan’s PTI had been subjected to vendetta by the ruling establishment.
Amid political uncertainty, the Pakistan stock markets sunk by almost four per cent. The financial market in Pakistan is wobbling amid apprehensions that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) may develop cold feet if political instability persists in Islamabad.
Dawn in its Editorial opined that a “vote for an underdog is a vote against the establishment”. It clearly stated that the people in Pakistan have rejected all tricks of the establishment, which is used for the Pakistani Army, against Imran Khan’s PTI. In the run up to the voting, Imran Khan was convicted with jail terms in three cases while his sister has claimed that there are 99 other cases against the former Prime Minister.
Pakistan Daily in a report has said that the PTI-affiliated independent have won the maximum number of seats in the National Assembly. The daily stated that the verdict was contrary to the popular belief that the PML (N) of Nawaz Sharif would win the election. It may be noted that Sharif has come back to Pakistan from London ahead of the election.
The Pakistani Army chief, Asim Munir, is widely expected to find a backdoor entry for Nawaz Sharif into the power corridor. This, claims the Pakistan-based commentators, can be done by pressuring the independents to join the favourable parties.
However, Islamabad-based political observers have stated that this is not the first occasion when independents have bagged maximum number of seats in the National Assembly. They have argued that the independents had won maximum number of seats in the 1985 election also. Subsequently, the Pakistan Muslim League had come in existence. In similar ways, the Imran Khan-backed independents can also form a political party and stake claims to form the government, added the political observers.