List of political parties in Pakistan

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Pakistan is a multi-party democracy that at times has been subject to military government. The country has many political parties and it is common for the country to be ruled by a coalition government. The Parliament of Pakistan is bicameral, consisting of the National Assembly of Pakistan and the Senate. The main political parties in Pakistan are listed below in alphabetical order.

Major parties[edit]

Pakistan People's Party[edit]

On 30 November 1967, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), a democratic socialist party, was founded by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto (1928 - 1979). The PPP ran in the 1970 general election on a socialist agenda of Roti, Kapra, Makan (Food, clothes, shelter). It favoured ties with China over the Western nations and ruled Pakistan after the Fall of Dhaka. After completion of first parliamentary term, the PPP succeeded in the Elections of 1977. Under Benazir Bhutto, the PPP became a secular party that promoted Social Liberalism as well as privatisation in order to secure funding from the US and the World Bank. From March 2008 to March 2013, it was leading party of the ruling coalition. Party faced defeat in elections of 2013. The PPP currently holds 41 senate seats and 42 national assembly seats.[1]

Pakistan Muslim League (N)[edit]

Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, a wealthy industrialist, is the leader of the largest political party, Pakistan Muslim League-N.

Pakistan Muslim League (N) (PML Nawaz group, or PML-N) became Pakistan's ruling party after a decisive victory in the Pakistani general elections of 2013. It holds 26 out of 104 seats in the Senate[2] and 190 seats in the National Assembly.[3] Prime minister Nawaz Sharif has been its leader since 1980s. Sharif, a businessman from Lahore, entered the mainstream Pakistani politics with the support of the military dictatorship of Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq and later in 1990, became prime minister of Pakistan with the assistance of powerful military establishment especially DG ISI General Hameed Gul. He and his party (PMLN) ruled the country for two different tenures in the '90s. His second government was overthrown by the army chief Pervez Musharaf in a military coup. Nawaz succeeded in saving his life and money with the diplomatic support of Saudi Arabia and left Pakistan for eight years. He came back in 2007. PMLN is a fiscally conservative party which holds moderate religious and social policies. It promotes strong and friendly relations with India, United States, and the European Union.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf[edit]

Imran Khan leads Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (Pakistan Movement for Justice) under the slogan: "Change". On 25 April 1996, in Lahore, the PTI, a social democratic and Third Way political movement, was founded by Imran Khan. The PTI boycotted the 2008 elections but became more politically active by 2011. The PTI claims to represent all Pakistanis regardless of religion, ethnicity, language or residence. It aims to create a modern, egalitarian, Islamic democratic and Welfare state.[4][5][6] The PTI promotes a nationalist agenda, arguing that Terrorism, Extremism and Radicalism have increased since Pakistan joined the War on Terror. The Party emerged as country's second most popular party in 2013 elections. PTI currently holds 32 seats in the National Assembly. It is currently the ruling party in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

Awami National Party[edit]

In 1986, the Awami National Party (Popular National Party, ANP) was founded by Abdul Wali Khan. It is a leftist, secular party that promotes Pashtun nationalism, democratic socialism, public sector government, and economic egalitarianism. It supports ties with Afghanistan, India, and historically the Soviet Union.[7] The ANP holds 7 seats in the senate and 3 seats in the National Assembly. Asfandyar Wali Khan, grandson of Bacha Khan is the incumbent president of the ANP. Between 2008 and 2013, it was part of the ruling PPP led coalition.[8] It performs well in Pashtun dominated areas in and around Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and the Balochistan provinces.

Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan[edit]

On 26 August 1941 in Lahore, Jamaat-e-Islami (Islamic Class, JI), a Right-wing, Islamist party, was founded by Abul Ala Maududi, a Muslim theologian, and philosopher. It aims to create an Islamic democracy in Pakistan ruled under Sharia law. The JI elects its leader (Emir) democratically; Siraj ul Haq is the incumbent emir. After the independence of Pakistan in 1947, JI moved its base to West Pakistan (remaining members formed the Jamaat-e-Islami Hind). During the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 it opposed the independence of Bangladesh, but in 1975 it established an independent political party there, the Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami. JI now has its headquarters in Mansoorah, Lahore. JI has an association with international Muslim groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood. .

Jamiat-e-Ulema-e-Islam (F)[edit]

Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (Assembly of Islamic Clergy, Fazl-ur-Rahman Group, JUI-F) is an ultra-conservative religious and theocratic party which, in 2002, formed a ruling coalition with Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and with the PML(Q) in Balochistan. It currently holds 15 seats in the National Assembly, 5 seats in the Senate, 17 seats in the Provincial Assembly of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and 8 seats in the Provincial Assembly of Balochistan. Its economic policy is socialist and moderate.[9]

Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM)[edit]

The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (National Democratic Movement, MQM) was founded in 1978 by Altaf Hussain (who went on, in 1984, to found the Muhajir Quami Movement) from the student organisation, the All Pakistan Muhajir Student Organization (APMSO). It is supported by the urban Muhajir community of Sindh.[10] The MQM is socially liberal and democratic. In 1997, the MQM officially removed the term Muhajir, which refers to Urdu-speaking Muslims and replaced it with Muttahida (United). Between 1992 and 1999, the Pakistan Army, in Operation Cleanup, attempted to suppress the MQM.[11] On 11 September 2001, the MQM condemned attacks by al-Qaida in the US with public demonstrations.[12]

Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT)[edit]

The Pakistan Awami Tehrik (Pakistan People's Movement) is a politically radical, ideologically centrist and religiously moderate political party. Populist sufi cleric Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri is its founding chairman. In 1990, Pakistan Awami Tehrik (PAT) participated in the national elections just one year after it was founded. In 1991, PAT and TNFJ (Tehrik-e-Nifas-e-Fiqh-e-Jafria, a shia political group) now known as Tehrik-e-Jafaria signed a 'Communique of Unity' to promote social and religious harmony. PAT enjoys considerable support among religious but moderate lower middle class of the country. PAT has a very organized and disciplined organizational structure and highly trained workers. However, party's entire political influence is based on agitation and public demonstrations. Party's vote bank and electoral power is considered to be limited unlike the PPP-P or PTI.

Most popular political parties in Pakistan[edit]

List Of Political Parties in Pakistan
No. Name Abbreviation Symbol Foundation
Current leader(s)
1 Pakistan Peoples Party PPP Arrow 1967 Bilawal Bhutto
Asif Ali Zardari
2 Pakistan Muslim League (N) PML-N Lion 1985 Shahbaz Sharif
3 Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf PTI Bat 1996 Imran Khan
4 Muttahida Qaumi Movement MQM Kite 1984 Farooq Sattar
5 Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam JUI-F Book 1988 Maulana Fazl-ur-Rehman

Minor or regional parties[edit]


Party Seats
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf 7 Pakistan Peoples Party 25
Pakistan Muslim League (N) 27
Awami National Party 6
Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (F) 5
Muttahida Qaumi Movement 8
Pakistan Muslim League (Q) 4
Balochistan National Party Awami 2
Jamat-e-Islami Pakistan 1
Independents 10
Others 7
Total 104

Nationals Assembly[edit]

Affiliation Members
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf 33
Pakistan Muslim League (N) 188
Pakistan People's Party 47
Muttahida Qaumi Movement 24
Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (F) 12
Pakistan Muslim League (F) 5
Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party 4
Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan 4
National Peoples Party (Pakistan) 3
Awami National Party 2
Pakistan Muslim League (Q) 2
Others 7
Independents 8
 Ruling coalition majority

Members of the PML(N) are marked in bold text

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Senate position" Government of Pakistan.
  2. ^ "Party wise list." Government of Pakistan.
  3. ^ "Members' listing." Government of Pakistan.
  4. ^ Khan S. M. "Pakistan's creation pointless if it fails to become Islamic welfare state." Pakistan Tribune 27 June 2012. "Imran Khan said on Wednesday that Pakistan's creation had been pointless if the country fails to become an Islamic welfare state."
  5. ^ Michaelsen M. "Pakistan's dream catcher." Qantara 27 March 2012. "Iqbal's work has influenced Imran Khan in his deliberations on an Islamic social state."
  6. ^ "Constitution of Pakistan Tahreek e Insaaf" Insaf party website.
  7. ^ "Pakistan" The World Factbook, Central Intelligence Agency Accessed 5 January 2013.
  8. ^ "Pakistan's 'Gandhi' party takes on Taliban, Al Qaeda". Christian Science Monitor. 5 May 2008. Accessed 9 May 2008.
  9. ^ [1] Daily Times, Pakistan. 14 December 2008.
  10. ^ "Pakistan: Human rights crisis in Karachi." Archived 4 November 2006 at the Wayback Machine. Amnesty International 1 February 1996. Accessed 26 July 2009.
  11. ^ Haq F. "Rise of the MQM in Pakistan: Politics of Ethnic Mobilisation." Asian Survey, University of California Press 1 November 1999 35(11) p990 - 1004 doi=10.1525/as.1995.35.11.01p00677 Accessed 3 August 2009.
  12. ^ "MQM is a liberal and democratic party: Altaf." Daily Times, Pakistan 26 May 2008. Accessed 17 May 2011.
  13. ^ GEMC ([Upddated]). "Election Results 2013". Geo Election Monitoring Cell. Retrieved 28 May 2013.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  14. ^ Irfan Ali Shaikh. "Acid test for MQM". October 04, 2002. Daily Times. Archived from the original on 5 November 2012. Retrieved 16 May 2013. 

External links[edit]