The political parties have kicked off wheeling and dealing with each other to discuss the prospects of forming the next government in the country, as results of the general election 2024 for almost all the constituencies of the National Assembly have been received.
As the results continued to trickle in for two days after the polls, independent candidates backed by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) looked dominant with 93 NA seats in hand, while the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) won on 78 and 54 seats in the legislative, respectively.
While PTI ruled out forging an alliance with PML-N or PPP, claiming to be in a position to form a majority federal government, alliances brewed in the Centre and Punjab as the remaining two parties agreed to form a coalition government, sources said.
Now, all eyes are on the outcomes of the ongoing meetings of political parties as PML-N leaders discussed matters with the PPP and Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) leaderships in separate meetings.
Pakistan witnessed the biggest general elections of its history on February 8, when a large number of people across the country exercised their right to vote to elect their representatives for national and provincial assemblies — on 855 constituencies — despite the suspension of mobile phone and internet services.
The 2024 elections surpassed the previous ones in 2018 in various aspects, including a record budget allocation of Rs48 billion, a substantial increase in the number of voters exceeding 50% of the total population, an unprecedented ratio of independent candidates, a total of nearly 18,000 candidates, and a substantial amount of paper required for printing 260 million ballots.
More than 1.4 million polling staff performed their duties at 90,675 polling stations — of which 16,766 were declared as extremely sensitive. To ensure voter turnout, February 8 was declared as a public holiday.
The polling kick-started at 8am, with delays in some areas and continued till 5pm throughout the country, which is the world's fifth largest democracy.
With cellular service suspended since dawn due to security risks, the country witnessed a largely peaceful polling process, however, a terror attack in Dera Ismail Khan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, martyred four policemen.
The election results were expected to be completed a few hours after midnight, but the unofficial results couldn't be completed even two day after the ballot, sparking a controversy.
Amid all the chaos about the poll results, all eyes are on the PTI-affiliated as they await the party's decision about their future course of action.
Currently, the PTI-backed candidates are leading with the most seats followed by PML-N (78), PPP (54) and MQM-P (17).