Caretaker PM Kakar says he anticipates coalition government in Pakistan


PTI, Feb 10, 2024, 8:59 PM IST

Pakistan's caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar (source: Wikimedia Commons)

Islamabad: As votes are still being counted two days after the general election with a possibility of a hung Parliament in Pakistan, caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar on Saturday said he anticipated a coalition government.

Blocking the communication channels on Thursday, the polling day, had no political motive, Kakar said adding, that it was done only because of the security situation even when scores of parties accused the authorities of deliberately suspending the Internet that day.

The caretaker prime minister, who assumed charge in August last year after the dissolution of the National Assembly, expressed his best wishes and prayed for the political and economic stability of the people of Pakistan. He said that he anticipated a coalition government, but it was up to the political parties to negotiate.

Independents backed by jailed former prime minister Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party won the lion’s share of 101 seats in the National Assembly, followed by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N)with 73 seats and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) with 54 seats.

The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) won 17 and other seats went to smaller parties as the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) announced the result of only 255 out of 265 seats by Saturday evening. Election to one seat was postponed after the death of a candidate.

A party must win 133 seats out of 265 in the National Assembly while overall, 169 seats are needed to secure a simple majority out of its total 336 seats, which include the reserved slots for women and minorities.

“Our responsibility as a caretaker government was to ensure security, and ahead of the elections, two terrorist incidents in Balochistan province occurred, which reminded the people of the real-time threat,” Kakar was quoted as saying by the Associated Press of Pakistan, a state-owned news agency.

Kakar was responding to questions by TRT World, a Turkish broadcaster.

Commenting on the suspension of the mobile services, he said that to face the security challenge, they had to block the communication channels; “otherwise, they did not have any political motive whatsoever.”

Elaborating his viewpoint, the caretaker prime minister said that considering that the terrorists would confine themselves to these two provinces would be a fallacy, there might be other potential attacks in other provinces.

He said they did their best to secure them. It was only mobile services that were suspended while the internet service was available. He did not think that this suspension had hindered the huge democratic exercise, the APP quoted Kakar as saying.

The results showed that it was, by and large, a free and fair exercise, the caretaker prime minister said and added that even though people went out and peacefully exercised their right to vote, for the time being, he didn’t have figures as to how many people had voted.

In response to another question, Kakar said Pakistan had “a transitional and evolving democracy,” and admitted that it had had three direct military interventions in the past, and “no one could deny it.”

“When there was a transition of power to the civilian government, there had always been pull and push. In my view, they (political parties) should keep the larger interests of the population in mind while negotiating this power framework structure. One was the reference to the constitution, and the other was the existing pragmatic exercises,” he said.

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