The Pakistan election has ended with such a score of the three main contestants -- Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, Nawaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League and the Bhutto family’s Pakistan People’s Party -- that the highest scorer has fallen far short of a majority.

The parliament of Pakistan called the National Assembly (NA) has 272 electable seats; 269 of these faced this election. For a simple majority, a party needs 137 seats. But the PTI has got a measly 109.
Even with Nawaz Sharif in jail, Shehbaz Sharif managed to garner 63 seats for their PML(N). Pakistan People’s party is trailing way behind with 39.

The refrain to justify the loss in the election for the heads of both the PML(N) and PPP is that this election was rigged.

Not only is Sharif saying it, this theory has gone viral even in Pakistan’s mainstream media: That their Army propped up the Milli Muslim League (MML) to cut into the votes of the PML(N).

If the common allegation leads to an unthinkable PML(N)-PPP alliance, their combined tally comes tantalisingly close to the PTI’s.

The total strength of the NA is, however, greater: 342 seats. It is somewhat like India’s bicameral legislature with 545 Lok Sabha seats and 250 Rajya Sabha seats out of which the latter is filled through indirect elections and nominations.

Out of these 342 seats, 172 makes a majority necessary to pass Bills to make laws. Out of 342, 60 seats are reserved for women and 10 for minorities. These 70 seats are filled through a process of proportionate representation by parties that have secured at least 5% of the votes polled in the general elections.

Since the Sharifs’ party and that of the Bhuttos have both gained much more than a mere 5% of Pakistani voters’ confidence, they will have a fair share of representatives in the 70 reserved seats.

As of now, with the help of smaller parties and independents, Imran Khan may cobble up a coalition and ascend the chair of Pakistan’s Prime Minister. But this will be a highly unstable government even if the unconfirmed news that the PTI’s score has risen to 118 is to be believed. It is 19 short of a majority and 54 short of being an effective legislative force.