Pakistan's newly declared coalition government echoes the 2022 alliance that ousted Imran Khan, analysts say, demonstrating the military's enduring influence, but also Khan's unspent opposition power.

Last week's split-verdict national election delivered a surprise boon for independent candidates loyal to jailed ex-premier Khan, defying an army-backed crackdown with a combined showing larger than any other party.

But late Tuesday the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), favoured by the top brass, said it would partner with the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and some smaller parties to form the next government.

"The more things change, the more they remain the same," political analyst Hafsa Khawaja told AFP.

"This is the same set-up, but just with the stamp of these elections."

- A weak repeat -

The groundswell of support for Khan loyalists means a broad coalition is again needed to form the parliamentary majority required to mint a new government.

But there are indications this version will be weaker than the last.

PPP leader Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, foreign minister in the 2022-23 government, said this time his party won't take ministerial roles and will back the prime minister "on an issue-to-issue basis".

There is still a lot of negotiating to go, however, including a likely return to the presidency for his father, Asif Ali Zardari.

If PPP doesn't take any ministries, that would make the administration effectively a minority government -- a copy of the previous alliance but on a "weaker footing", said analyst Amber Rahim Shamsi.

Pakistan is in the midst of a grinding economic slowdown and the new administration must barter over belt-tightening measures to unlock a vital new International Monetary Fund (IMF) deal.

"Whatever government comes into power has to make many, many unpopular, tough decisions," Shamsi said.

The PPP "is keeping away from this mess" in a bid to shore up its long-term prospects, she added.

Analysts had predicted the election would see Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party largely wiped away after suffering a crackdown since being ousted by a PML-N and PPP coalition two years ago.

After Khan turned on the generals who nurtured his ascent he was buried by court cases and barred from office, while PTI leaders were rounded up and candidates forced to run as independents.

But PTI-backed candidates took around 90 of the 266 elected assembly seats -- a hefty opposition bloc set to continue bedevilling any incoming administration.

"The establishment has tried to dismantle the party, but at the end of the day they've been unable to render it redundant," said analyst Khawaja.

"PTI is going nowhere, even if it's a weakened party."

- Army still commanding presence -

Pakistan's military has governed the nation for much of its history and has generally held a kingmaking role even in periods of civilian rule.

PML-N say their candidate for prime minister is Shehbaz Sharif -- who helmed the alliance that ousted Khan and is regarded as amenable to military influence.

Likewise, analysts say a fragile coalition arrangement will suit the military establishment, as it remains keen to choreograph civilian affairs after Khan's crusade of defiance.

But "the military faces a dilemma regarding these politicians", according to Qamar Cheema of Islamabad-based think tank the Sanober Institute.

Despite PTI faring better than expected in polls, leaders say the ballot was tampered with to prevent their landslide victory.

The military relies on elected politicians "to contribute to a larger stability", said Cheema, and "unless and until this government enjoys public backing it won't be able to deliver."