Imran Khan will have to tread on thin ice
Imran Khan will have to tread on thin ice

It would seem rather presumptuous on the part of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan to declare that he would take oath as the Prime Minister on August 11, after addressing the nation and sort of laying down his policies for the next five years -- because he is still short of the half-way mark. For this, he might just be helped by the "deep state".

The way things are stacked up now, the PTI, with 115 seats, is a little over 20 short of the halfway mark of the 269 seats contested in the National Assembly (the contest for three seats are to be held at a later stage).

PTI's tally may come down to 109 after those who contested from twin constituencies step down from one of the seats. The total number of seats in the Assembly are 342, with 70 of them reserved for religious minorities and women which are allocated in proportion to the winning numbers in contested seats. 

The PTI will, of course get a fair number of the 70 seats reserved seats. But it will remain short of the simple majority. The PTI leadership has reportedly approached disparate groups like the PML-Quaid (PML-Q), the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P), the Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA) and the Balochistan Awami Party (BAP), as well as Independents, to shore up its numbers.

That is certainly treading on thin ice. Assuming that the party is able to garner a majority, Imran Khan's hands will be tied due to the various pulls and pressures of the alliance partners. Whether he will be able to provide basic governance, let alone even look at development and diplomacy, is to be seen.

Another worry for the PTI is the reports that the PML-N and PPP had agreed to formulate a "coordinated joint strategy" in the National Assembly. In the end, these might be mere pinpricks but they can have a debilitating effect on the government's attempts to deliver. 

The question is: Will the new prime minister toe the line or will he be able to chalk out an independent policy. From all indications, Imran Khan would probably remain an establishment man. (The views expressed are personal)

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