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Former Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif speaks at the party office of Pakistan Muslim League in Lahore, Pakistan, February 9, 2024.

REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar

Pakistan’s new government seeks more IMF assistance

On top of facing legitimacy questions following chaotic, violent elections tainted by widespread undemocratic practices, Pakistan’s new coalition government is inheriting an economy in crisis. These economic problems have been fueled by high energy costs, political dysfunction, flooding, and supply chain issues.

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Imran Khan: “The Poster Boy for Populism"
Imran Khan: “The Poster Boy for Populism" | Global Stage

Imran Khan: “The Poster Boy for Populism"

Weeks after a chaotic general election, Pakistan’s political parties still struggle to form a coalition to move the country forward. GZERO’s Tony Maciulis sat down with Pakistan’s former Foreign Minister Hina Khar at the Munich Security Conference for her take on how the nation’s imprisoned ex-Prime Minister Imran Khan maintains a hold over supporters and remains a powerful political force.

Independent candidates mostly aligned with Khan’s political party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), won the most votes on February 8, though they fell short of a majority, setting off a power struggle between Khan and his political rival, former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

Comparing Khan to former US President Donald Trump and India’s leader Narendra Modi, Khar said, “He really represents what populist leaders are all about. He’s able to get everybody to rally around what all is wrong and the great injustices. However, when he comes to power, he doesn’t have any to plan to sort it out.”

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Supporters of former Prime Minister Imran Khan's party.

REUTERS/Fayaz Aziz

Coalition deal shuts out Khan in Pakistan

Candidates affiliated with imprisoned former Prime Minister Imran Khan won the most votes in last week’s election in Pakistan, but no single party won a clear majority, so a coalition government had to be formed.

On Tuesday, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, aka PLMN, and the Pakistan People’s Party, or PPP, announced that they had agreed to form a coalition government with two smaller, regional parties.

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A man views a computer screen displaying an AI-crafted speech of former Prime Minister Imran Khan.

REUTERS/Akhtar Soomro

Imran Khan’s AI prison address

Former Prime Minister Imran Khan needed a tech solution to get his message out during the Pakistani parliamentary elections.

Khan, himself disqualified from running due to his prison sentence on corruption charges, has spent months urging voters to help elect his political allies, independent candidates affiliated with his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf political party. Khan, unable to record an address from prison, used an AI-generated version of his voice to read it.

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Supporters of former Prime Minister Imran Khan's party block a road to protest against the results of the general election, at Baleli, on the outskirts of Quetta, Pakistan, February 12, 2024.

REUTERS/Naseer Ahmed

Is Pakistan’s military losing its grip on power?

Thousands of supporters of imprisoned former Prime Minister Imran Khan took to the streets and blocked highways in southwestern Pakistan on Monday to protest the results of last week’s chaotic election.

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Supporters of former Prime Minister Imran Khan's party gather during a protest demanding free and fair results of the elections in Karachi, Pakistan February 11, 2024.

REUTERS/Akhtar Soomro

Pakistan faces uncertain future after messy election

Following days of delay, the final results of Pakistan’s elections were announced on Sunday. Unexpectedly, independent candidates aligned with imprisoned former Prime Minister Imran Khan took the most seats — 101 — outpacing the party of Khan’s rival, former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, which won 75 spots out of 266 seats up for grabs.

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Burqa-clad women arrive at a polling station to cast their vote as a police officer stands guard during general election, in Peshawar, Pakistan, February 8, 2024.

REUTERS/Fayaz Aziz

Who won Pakistan’s violent, chaotic election?

Pakistan went to the polls on Thursday in an election tainted by undemocratic practices – including a suspension of mobile phone services during voting – and violence.

Amid unexpected delays in the tallying of votes, former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharifdeclared victory Friday despite acknowledging that his party did not win enough seats to form a government. Sharif said his party won the largest share of the vote and that he would seek to form a coalition government. Meanwhile, reports indicated that independent candidates mostly affiliated with imprisoned former Prime Minister Imran Khan won the most seats so far.

Before Election Day, Pakistan’s military was effectively accused of rigging the process in favor of Sharif and his Pakistan Muslim League party with a rampant crackdown on Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party. Sharif and Khan are archrivals.

There’s “no doubt” that the delays in the vote count are part of a military-backed effort to ensure Khan-affiliated candidates don't come out on top, says Pramit Chaudhuri, Eurasia Group’s head of South Asia Research.

“PTI seems to have been able to get through the fog and connect its voters with their independent candidates,” says Chaudhuri, adding, “The results are the generals’ nightmare.”

Ongoing violence. At least 28 people were reportedly killed in Pakistan during voting on Thursday, and the violence continued into Friday, with at least two people killed in clashes between police and Khan supporters in the northwestern Shangla district.

Paramilitary soldiers stand guard along a road, ahead of the general elections in Karachi, Pakistan February 7, 2024.

REUTERS/Akhtar Soomro

Pakistanis vote but don’t decide who’s in charge

On Thursday, Pakistan is holding what should be one of the largest elections this year – but with the country’s most popular leader locked up, the military tilting the scales, and over two dozen killed this week in terrorist bombings, can it be called “democracy?”

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