Pakistan's Khan leads in projected partial poll results as opponent cries foul

26 July, 2018, 08:00 | Author: Ellis Copeland
  • WEB_Pakistan_Election_PTI_Results_Reuters

Results are expected by Thursday morning and, at the time of writing, Khan's Pakistan Movement for Justice party is in the lead with 84 National Assembly seats out of 272, followed by Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League with 52.

Overall, PTI is leading PML-N in 93 constituencies of NA.

Citing security concerns, Pakistan's election commission announced that internet and cellphone services in several Baluchistan districts have been suspended.

Former worldwide cricket star and socialite Imran Khan is confident that a victory in Pakistan's general elections on Wednesday will kick start a revolution for a country bedeviled by corruption and insecurity.

Pakistani cricket hero-turned-politician Imran Khan led in projected partial results of a general election on Thursday, as the party of his jailed chief rival, ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, rejected the eventual result as "blatantly" rigged. As the results trickle, it will be clear in a few hours as to who will be the next Prime Minister of Pakistan.

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan said it was "gravely concerned" about violence being directed against candidates during the campaign, warning "election gatherings must not become killing fields".

"Whatever way elections run, I see a lot of instability", said defence analyst Ayesha Siddiqua, who authored Military Inc, a look at the extensive financial holdings of Pakistan's army.

Election officials say delays in releasing the results are simply down to technical failures in the electronic reporting system and the votes are now being counted manually.

Pakistani election officials count ballots after polls closed at a polling station in Rawalpindi on July 25, 2018.

Many smaller parties have also rejected the results.

ISIS claims responsibility for Pakistani polling station blast

A suicide bomber has killed at least 31 people and wounded many more at a polling station in the Pakistani city of Quetta, rounding off a campaign season stained by indiscriminate violence.

Jeff M. Smith - from the Heritage Foundation - said it was important to acknowledge that a peaceful transition of power via a democratic election is still a rare commodity in Pakistan and thus would be a positive step forward.

Sharif warned his party would launch protests against the alleged rigging.

The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) of former president Asif Ali Zardari was trailing with 39 seats, possibly giving him a chance to play kingmaker in case of a hung parliament, according to media reports.

Qasim said Khan violated Pakistan's constitution, which guarantees the secrecy of the ballot.

As well, Khan's vehicle was allowed to enter the polling station, and he also brought members of his party, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, inside.

"My vote and my heart are both with Imran Khan", said Peshawar university student Naveed Ashraf, 24, who wants Khan to improve the quality of education and reduce school and college fees. In the Punjab assembly, PML-N and PTI were in a neck-and-neck fight, according to trends.

The outcome could lead to a weak coalition government at a time when Pakistan urgently needs to address a foreign currency crisis and may need to go to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a second bailout in five years.

As many as 12,570 candidates are contesting for a total of 849 seats of national and provincial assemblies in the general election.

There were more than 19 million new potential voters, including millions of women and young people. Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP) leader Raza Haroon made the same claim about the treatment meted out to their agents at different polling stations across Karachi. "We know all the other candidates and parties".

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