Elections 2018: Project PTI executed successfully

By
Shaharyar Khalid

In 2018, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) became the country's second government to complete its tenure and, for the first time in history, democracy prevailed for 10 years.

Pakistan's last general elections were held on July 25, 2018, in which the competition was largely between PML-N and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). 

Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif (left) and PTI Chairman Imran Khan (right). —AFP
Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif (left) and PTI Chairman Imran Khan (right). —AFP

PTI, which got only 28 seats during the polls in 2013, claimed a big win this time after basing their campaign on slogans of change, accountability and a new Pakistan.

PTI supporters take part in a rally in support of former Prime Minister Imran Khan in Karachi on April 10, 2022. — Reuters
PTI supporters take part in a rally in support of former Prime Minister Imran Khan in Karachi on April 10, 2022. — Reuters

PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif was out of the electoral race after being disqualified by the Supreme Court in the Panama Papers case and the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) had lost its popularity in Punjab, which is why it looked tough for these two parties to beat PTI.

Former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif (centre) leaves the Supreme Court building after the shrine land case hearing in Islamabad on December 4, 2018. — AFP
Former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif (centre) leaves the Supreme Court building after the shrine land case hearing in Islamabad on December 4, 2018. — AFP

The polls, held on July 25, 2018, were predominantly peaceful, however, the sudden failure of the Result Transmission System (RTS) system dented the election's credibility. Six major parties, including the PML-N, called out large-scale rigging and mismanagement in the polls.

According to the results, PTI won 116, PML-N came in second with 64, and PPP were third with 43 seats. 

PPP won the majority with 75 seats in Sindh, Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) and PTI formed a coalition govt in Balochistan, while PTI succeeded in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Pakistani men line up as election officials check their ballot papers during voting in Pakistans general election at a polling station in Lahore on July 25, 2018. — AFP
Pakistani men line up as election officials check their ballot papers during voting in Pakistan's general election at a polling station in Lahore on July 25, 2018. — AFP

In these polls, only 50.14% of voters took to the elections, with the highest turnout observed in Punjab at 56.8%, while the lowest was in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa at 41.5%. Interestingly, in 2018, Balochistan, with a 45% turnout for the first time, was not the province with the lowest percentage of voters.

PTI Chairman Imran Khan meets with elected independents from Punjab who announced they would be join the party on July 30, 2018. — PTI Central Media Department
PTI Chairman Imran Khan meets with elected independents from Punjab who announced they would be join the party on July 30, 2018. — PTI Central Media Department

But, despite getting more seats than PTI in the Punjab assembly, the PML-N could not form the government. Meanwhile, PTI joined hands with Pakistan Muslim League Quaid-e-Azam (PML-Q) and independent candidates to form government in Punjab.

Imran Khan taking oath as 22nd Prime Minister of Pakistan alongside then President Mamoon Hussain on 18 August 2018.—VOA Urdu
Imran Khan taking oath as 22nd Prime Minister of Pakistan alongside then President Mamoon Hussain on 18 August 2018.—VOA Urdu

In the centre, PTI formed a coalition government with PML-Q, Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P), BAP and independent candidates. Consequently, on August 18, 2018, Imran Khan took oath as Pakistan's prime minister. But, his govt could not complete its tenure.

A news about Imran Khans ouster via a vote of no confidence on April 10, 2022.— Al Jazeera
A news about Imran Khan's ouster via a vote of no confidence on April 10, 2022.— Al Jazeera

On April 10, 2022, the PTI was sent packing after losing the vote of no confidence in the national assembly, and the 13-party coalition Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) formed a government for the rest of the assembly's tenure.