There is many a slip between the cup and the lip. Already struggling to reach the magical figure for government formation at the Centre, Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf suffers a fall in numbers instead, after the Election Commission of Pakistan notified final results of the Election 2018. The commission has withheld results of nine National Assembly seats and 17 provincial assembly seats for various reasons, stirring a new controversy before the formation of the next government. Not that the PTI’s own strength has gone down from 116 to 112 in the wake of the ECP notification, one of its potential allies, Balochistan Awami Party, also sees its tally slashed to three from four — meaning an overall cut of five in a total of 270 seats on which the elections were held. Remember, elections in two constituencies were not held.
As per its claims, the PTI — at 112 now — has the support of nine independent MNAs-elect, besides 15 from its coalition partners including the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (six), the Pakistan Muslim League-Q (two after Chaudhry Pervez Elahi’s decision to give up both NA seats to take up the speaker’s position in the new Punjab Assembly), the Balochistan Awami Party (three now after the ECP notification), the Grand Democratic Alliance (two), the Awami Muslim League (one) and the Jamhuri Watan Party (one). This takes its overall tally to 136 — one more than half of the seats on which the elections were held. But since the PTI needs to prove a simple majority in a house of 342 which also includes women and minorities elected on reserved seats, one can only guess the exact tally the PTI will be able to clinch in the house.
Since, under the Constitution, the first session of the National Assembly has to be summoned within 21 days after the general election, this necessary obligation has to be fulfilled by August 15. Caretaker Law Minister Barrister Ali Zafar says the maiden National Assembly session could be summoned on August 11 or 12 for oath-taking of the elected members, and elections of NA speaker and deputy speaker could take place on August 13 and that of prime minister the following day, ie, the 14th of August. So it is a race against time for the PTI and Imran Khan.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 9th, 2018.