Pakistani media on Thursday hailed the outcome of the general elections, which saw the spectacular performance of Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) party, saying it showed that the country is “a peaceful democratic state” which defied all odds and paved the way for another successful democratic transition.
The PTI emerged as the single largest party in the National Assembly with its candidates winning 76 seats and leading in 43 others according to the latest unofficial results and trends in the parliamentary polls, amid rival political parties’ claim of “blatant” rigging.
A single party will need at least 137 of the directly elected seats to be able to form the government on its own.
The Express Tribune whose front page headline read: PTI clinches victory as opponents cry foul, in its editorial said the mandate of the people should be respected.
“The country cannot afford to see the losing side embark on the protest route post-election the way the PTI had done the last time, given the numerous serious challenges it is faced with – both internally and externally,” the editorial said.
“Whosoever is elected to govern this 207-million-strong nation, what’s important is that the results should be accepted and the mandate of the people respected,” it said.
The opinion piece further said a notable turnout of Pakistanis to exercise their franchise “demonstrated the nation’s strength” and showed the world “that Pakistan is a peaceful democratic state which defied all odds and paved the way for another successful democratic transition”.
Another leading newspaper, Dawn, said Pakistanis have consistently and courageously demonstrated a commitment to the electoral process but it is too early to assess if the election commission was able to manage the voting process better than in previous elections.
In its editorial, the newspaper said, “The roots of democracy include strengthening democratic institutions, but the commitment of the people to freely choosing their elected representatives is what truly binds the democratic process together.”
“The Pakistani citizen has consistently and courageously demonstrated a commitment to the electoral process, and democratic continuity permits that widespread sentiment to express itself. The Pakistani voter is deserving of respect and admiration,” it said.
The paper which displayed the headline PTI delivers knockout punch; six major parties cry foul in its frontpage said, “Whichever parties or coalitions emerge victorious, they must approach politics with a more democratic and conciliatory spirit. For national stability, politics cannot be allowed to return to an era of open warfare.”
The News International which headlined Khan’s success as “Imran bowls all out” has expressed doubts in the election process in its editorial.
“Predictions that the PTI would be the largest party and there would be a hung parliament have largely proven correct…The one question hanging over the elections is whether they were conducted fairly,” it said.
“While every election sees its share of complaints, it seems this time almost all parties have the same complaint, it further said.
Hailing Khan as Man of the Match in its front page, The Nation said, “The need of the hour is a strong government at the centre as a hung parliament entails deadlocks and friction in parliamentary processes.”
“With the new extreme ideologies in the mix along with a juxtaposition of tenuous relationships of political parties and the judicio-military nexus, its remains to be seen exactly how hung the parliament will be and how that would translate into forming the future government body,” its editorial said.