217 of the 237 seats in National Assembly
109 seats needed for a majority
Map of Pakistan showing National Assembly Constituencies and winning parties
The elections saw the resurgence of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) under the leadership of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto's daughter, Benazir. Supporters of President Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq, who had died in August 1988, reorganised themselves into a nine-party alliance, the Islami Jamhoori Ittehad (IJI) with support from the intelligence agencies. This marked the beginning of a decade-long two-party system between the left-wing PPP and right-wing IJI and its successor the Pakistan Muslim League (N).
The PPP emerged as the biggest party, winning 94 of the 207 seats in the National Assembly. The IJI came second with 56 seats amidst a voter turnout of just 43%. The PPP was able to form a government with other left-wing parties, including the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), with Bhutto becoming the first female Prime Minister in a Muslim country.
Parliamentary elections had been held on 7 March 1977, with the PPP gaining a two-thirds majority. However, amid violence and civil disorder, Chief of Army Staff General Zia-ul-Haq ousted the Prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in a military coup on 5 June, code-named Operation Fair Play. Martial law was lifted in 1985 when non-partisan and technocratic elections were held, resulting in Mohammad Junejo, a Sindhi lord, being appointed Prime Minister.
On 29 May 1988, the National Assembly which was elected in 1985 was dissolved prematurely by Zia, who also dismissed Junejo and the rest of his cabinet asserting that the 'administration was corrupt and inefficient'. The new polling date (exceeding the limit of 90 days following dissolution laid down by the Constitution of Pakistan) was set by the President on 20 July 1988. Moreover it was also announced that the elections would be held on a non-party basis. However, on 2 October, following the accidental death of Zia on 17 August, the Supreme Court reversed the ban on parties and allowed the elections to be held on a party basis.
After Zia's death, the democratic socialists and secular parties re-united and campaigned under the PPP's platform led by Benazir Bhutto; previously Zia had crushed the socialists' Movement for the Restoration of Democracy, which had attempted to overthrow his military regime, and took extremely tough actions to further disintegrate the movement. The PPP campaign pledged to control and tackle the extremism in Pakistan, and as well as curb the power of the trade unions. The conservatives under Sharif on other hand campaigned upon expanding the industrialisation and privatisation program;
Despite allegations of vote rigging against the PPP, and the use of the ID card rule to keep its less well-organized and relatively less well-off supporters from voting, Bhutto won the election by a margin of over 8%, thus managing to defeat the nine-party alliance of IJI.
The results in three Muslim constituencies were declared invalid; in the subsequent by-elections, the IJI won two seats and the PPP one. There were no candidates for the Ahmadi constituency.
|Pakistan Peoples Party||7,546,561||37.66||93|
|Islami Jamhoori Ittehad||5,908,742||29.48||54|
|Pakistan Awami Ittehad||857,684||4.28||3|
|Awami National Party||409,555||2.04||2|
|Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (F)||360,526||1.80||7|
|Punjabi Pakhtun Ittehad||105,061||0.52||0|
|Pakistan National Party||104,442||0.52||0|
|National Peoples Party (Khar)||97,990||0.49||1|
|Pakistan Democratic Party||80,473||0.40||1|
|Balochistan National Alliance||71,058||0.35||2|
|Pakistan Muslim League (MQ)||55,052||0.27||0|
|Pakistan Milli Awai Ittehad||46,562||0.23||0|
|Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (Darkhasti)||44,964||0.22||1|
|Tehreek-e-Jafaria (Arif Hussaini)||42,216||0.21||0|
|United Christians Front||15,918||0.08||1|
|All Pakistan Christians Movement||15,449||0.08||0|
|National Democratic Party||14,960||0.07||0|
|Pakistan Mazdoor Kissan Party||6,652||0.03||0|
|Pakistan Masihi League||4,324||0.02||0|
|Pakistan Christians National Party||3,386||0.02||0|
|Pakistan Muslim League (Qayyum)||2,196||0.01||0|
|Hazara Front (Mahaz-e-Hazara)||1,814||0.01||0|
|Pakistan Muslim League (Forward Block)||1,713||0.01||0|
|Awami National Party (Ainee Group)||1,018||0.01||0|
|Pakistan Qaumi Mahaz-e-Azadi||999||0.00||0|
|Pakistan National Democratic Alliance||388||0.00||0|
|National Muslim League (Muhasba Group)||282||0.00||0|
|Seats reserved for women||20|
In light of the election results, acting President Ghulam Ishaq Khan invited the PPP to form a government. The PPP formed the government, making alliances with small parties and independent groups. On 4 December 1988, Bhutto was elected as the first female Prime Minister of a Muslim country. The new Cabinet, headed by Bhutto was subsequently announced.
The MQM was pivotal in the formation of central government, as the PPP had failed to win a majority of seats. However, the MQM left the coalition in October 1989 when differences developed after dozens were killed at an MQM congregation by Sindhi nationalists, and the alliance fell apart in the wake of ensuing violence. The MQM lent its support to Nawaz Sharif’s Islami Jamhoori Ittehad instead.
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