Pakistani general election, 1988
All 237 members were elected
119 seats needed for a majority
|Turnout||43.5% ( 9.4%)|
|This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
General elections were held in Pakistan on 16 November 1988, electing the 336 members of the National Assembly and 100 members of the Senate. The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), led by Benazir Bhutto, ousted the technocratic military government of General Zia-ul-Haq, winning 94 of the 207 seats in the National Assembly. This was the second of four non-consecutive victories for the PPP and saw Benazir became Pakistan's – and the Muslim world's — first female head of government. Nawaz Sharif took the office of Leader of Opposition
Voter turnout was 43.5%.
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 former 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.
|Pakistan People's Party||7,546,561||38.5||94|
|Islami Jamhoori Ittehad||5,908,741||30.2||56|
|Pakistan Awami Ittehad||848,119||4.2||3|
|Awami National Party||409,555||2.1||2|
|Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (Fazl-ur-Rehman)||360,526||1.8||7|
|Punjabi Pakhtun Ittehad||105,061||0.5||0|
|Pakistan National Party||104,442||0.5||0|
|National Peoples Party (Khar)||97,363||0.5||1|
|Pakistan Democratic Party||80,743||0.4||1|
|Balochistan National Alliance||59,248||0.3||2|
|Pakistan Muslim League||55,052||0.3||0|
|Pakistan Milli Awai Ittehad||46,562||0.2||0|
|Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (Darkhasti)||44,964||0.2||1|
|Tehrik-e-Jafaria (Arif Hussaini)||42,261||0.2||0|
|15 other parties||51,656||0.3||0|
|Source: Nohlen et al.|
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 centrist 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 congregration 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.
- Dieter Nohlen, Florian Grotz & Christof Hartmann (2001) Elections in Asia: A data handbook, Volume I, p678 ISBN 0-19-924958-X
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