World News

Indecisive poll leaves Pakistan facing precarious future

Posted by: The Conversation

Date: Tuesday, 13 February 2024

Pakistan’s voters headed to the polls last Thursday hoping that an election might deliver something that’s been sorely missing in the country’s politics: stability.

It didn’t. Instead, a surprisingly strong showing by PTI - the party of jailed former prime minister and cricket hero Imran Khan - has left the country with a fragmented parliament, with no one party reaching the threshold to govern on their own. The PTI has claimed victory and clearly thinks it has a mandate. So too does rival party PMLN, which placed second in the vote and has a chance of forming a coalition with third place PPP.

If it sounds a bit of a mess, that’s because it is. And as Ayesha Jalal notes, it is a mess with consequences. An unstable government will find it harder to pass the kind of economic package needed to pull the country out of its economic quagmire. Moreover, it plays into the hands of Pakistan’s generals who are never that far away from politics, and may relish the prospect of a weak government that will be easier to manipulate.

In a new scientific study, climate researchers René van Westen, Henk Dijkstra and Michael Kliphuis show that the Atlantic’s circulation slowdown is headed toward a tipping point. Using high-tech models of the Earth’s climate, they show what’s likely to happen in North America, Europe and elsewhere if it reaches that point and starts a faster, likely unstoppable shutdown. They also found a warning signal to watch for.

Matt Williams

Senior International Editor

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