Minus 1 formula, PDM, and politics of Pakistan

Minus 1 Formula Imran Khan Bilawal bhutto Maryam Nawaz and Fazlu Rehman

In the national politics of Pakistan, the Minus-1 formula has always been in discussion. The world is facing a challenge of the Covid-19 Pandemic, yet in Pakistan, the politics of power is in flow. Would Imran Khan be replaced or survive? Assemblies would be dissolved or not? Opposition will go for a long march or not?

A Brief History

Looking at the history of democracy in Pakistan, it has faced many challenges. Not long but 2 decades ago, Pervez Musharraf has Minus-ed Nawaz Sharif through a military coup on October 12, 1999. Bhutto’s regime has been ended with the assassination of Benazir Bhutto on December 27, 2007.

Former President Pervez Musharraf, who was once very powerful, resigned to avoid impeachment on August 18, 2008. The parties from opposition and government forced Musharraf to resign or face impeachment.  Subsequently, former Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani was disqualified by the Supreme Court of Pakistan over contempt of court on April 26, 2012.

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In 2013, Nawaz Sharif came into power with a two-thirds majority. Imran Khan demanded the resignation of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on the allegation of election rigging. He several times called for Minus-1 formula. Eventually, on July 28, 2017, Nawaz Sharif got disqualified by the Supreme Court of Pakistan because of dishonesty, as he hasn’t disclosed his employment at Dubai based Capital FZE company.

The Current Political Scenario

The same is happening in the time of PTI’s government. It’s been almost 3 years since Imran Khan took an oath for the Prime Minister of Pakistan. Shortly from that moment on, the ‘Minus 1 formula’ in the federal government came into discussion several times. But this time, it is being discussed more often in national politics. The question is, why?


The opposition is demanding the PM’s resignation for quite a long time – as it always been the case in the politics of Pakistan. Looking at history, it seems a normal affair between the government and the opposition. But it can not be taken lightly, as no democratically-elected Prime Minister of Pakistan has completed the five years tenure.

Furthermore, Imran Khan’s firm stance on the accountability of opposition leaders, his various public statements, and intra-party division has made it difficult for the government to perform better.

The position of opposition’s coalition (PDM) can not be neglected here, as Nawaz Sharif is in London for the treatment. Shehbaz Sharif is in custody. Asif Ali Zardari is also facing NAB cases, though he is active in and after recent senate elections. PPP decided not to resign from National Assembly, and demanded Nawaz Sharif’s return to Pakistan. This has created a rift inside the PDM.

In fact we would be on a right to say, “Bye Bye PDM.”


Apparently, under these circumstances, there seems no problem for the government. The opposition is in a difficult position itself right now.

Prime Minister Imran Khan should improve the governance, and avoid discussion on the allegations of the opposition. The only guarantee for the Imran Khan’s survival as a Prime Minister is to deliver with effective performance. He has to keep good ties with the establishment and direct the ministers to perform. The ‘survival of the fittest’ rule should be applied if Pakistan has to prosper and become a developed country.

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A writer is a student of M.Phil in National Defence University, Islamabad.


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