In the aftermath of the 2018 general elections, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf (PTI)’s speed in joining alliances in order to secure a majority in the parliament was indeed an accomplishment. Establishing alliances requires making promises and compromises, and in doing so, PTI was able to defeat its main rival Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) by setting aside former grudges and quickly getting MQM-P, Balochistan Awami Party (BAP), Balochistan National Party- Mengal (BNP-M), Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA), Jamhoori Watan Party (JWP), Awami Muslim League (AML) and several independents on its side.

Yet now the ruling party may be learning to its grievance that maintaining alliances may be a harder task than making them. On Wednesday, PTI suffered the loss of an ally, with BNP-M President Sardar Akhtar Mengal announcing his party’s withdrawal from its alliance with the federal government over its failure to implement accords with the party. This is not the only instance of a disgruntled ally amidst PTI’s wavering coalition – PTI and MQM have had a tumultuous relationship, with the latter already having quit and then rejoined earlier in the year. These consistent tensions reflect that the ruling coalition is flimsy – an occurrence not ideal for a government in times of crisis.

BNP-M’s grievances are legitimate. PTI did not follow through on its six-point memorandum of understanding (MoU) that it promised in August of 2018. Their demands are not altogether impossible to grant and are justified. While the departure of BNP-M will not be a crushing blow to PTI’s majority in the coalition, since BNP-M held only four seats, it is an indication of weakness for the ruling party and sends a message to other unhappy allies. PTI will have to work harder to increase its support; doing so requires making promises and then committing to them too, as the party should hopefully have learned.