Imran Khan claimed victory in a video

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Candidates backed by former Pakistani premier Imran Khan’s party plan to form a government, a senior aide to the jailed politician said on Saturday, calling on supporters to peacefully protest if final election results were not released.

The US Department, UK, and the European Union expressed serious concerns about the fairness of the Pakistan parliamentary elections as former prime ministers Nawaz Sharif and Imran Khan both claimed victory with no clear result in sight.

UK foreign minister David Cameron raised concerns about the “fairness and lack of inclusivity” of the elections. The US State Department called for an investigation into “claims of election interference or fraud in Pakistan”.

Sharif supporters celebrate

(EPA)

Independent candidates backed by Mr Khan won the most seats in the National Assembly, despite his being in jail and his party being barred from the polls.

Mr Sharif said he would seek to form a coalition government after his party trailed the independents. Any party needs 133 seats in parliament for a simple majority.

Key Points

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UK foreign minister expresses ‘serious concerns’ over ‘fairness’ of Pakistan elections

British foreign minister David Cameron said “serious concerns” have been raised about the “fairness and lack of inclusivity” of Pakistan’s parliamentary elections.

“Authorities must uphold fundamental human rights including free access to information and the rule of law,” Mr Cameron posted on X, applauding all voters.

“We regret that not all parties were formally permitted to contest the elections and that legal processes were used to prevent some political leaders from participation, and to prevent the use of recognisable party symbols,” he said in a statement.

The foreign minister also noted there were restrictions imposed on internet access on polling day, as well as delays to the reporting of results, and claims of irregularities in the counting process.

“The UK urges authorities in Pakistan to uphold fundamental human rights including free access to information, and the rule of law,” he said.

Vishwam Sankaran10 February 2024 03:45

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Sharif party plans on forming coalition

Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said on Friday his party had emerged as the single largest group and would talk to other groups to form a coalition government.

By 5 p.m. (1200 GMT) on Saturday, results were still not in for 10 of the 265 seats contested in the election – 48 hours after the polls closed.

The latest tally, posted on the election commission’s website, showed independent candidates had won 100 seats, with Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) taking 72 seats.

At least 90 of the victorious independent candidates were backed by Khan and his party, a Reuters analysis showed – putting them well ahead of Sharif’s party.

Khan’s supporters were running as independents because they had been barred from contesting the polls under his party’s electoral symbol by the election commission for not complying with electoral laws.

Despite the ban and Khan’s imprisonment for convictions on charges ranging from leaking state secrets to corruption to an unlawful marriage, millions of the former cricketer’s supporters came out to vote for him, even though he cannot be part of any government while he remains in prison.

However, under Pakistan‘s electoral laws, independent candidates are not eligible to be allocated reserved seats, 70 of which are meant to be distributed according to party strength. Sharif’s party could get up to 20 of these seats.

Sam Rkaina10 February 2024 22:00

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Khan supports declared losers despite winning in polls as protests continue

Hundreds of Khan’s supporters rallied in the northwestern city of Peshawar led by two of his aides who said they had been declared losers despite having won the polls.

“We never expected it would happen to us,” said Taimur Khan Jhagra, one of Khan’s former provincial ministers.

The protesters chanted slogans against what they called a vote fraud.

(EPA)

(EPA)

Sam Rkaina10 February 2024 21:15

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Imran Khan party candidates plan to form government

Candidates backed by the party of jailed Pakistani opposition leader Imran Khan plan to form a government, a senior aide to the former prime minister said on Saturday, urging supporters to peacefully protest if final election results are not released.

The nation of 241 million people voted on Thursday in a general election, as the country struggles to recover from an economic crisis and battles militant violence in a deeply polarised political environment.

Both Khan and his main rival, three-time former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, declared victory on Friday, increasing uncertainty over who will form the next government at a time when swift policy action is needed to address multiple challenges.

Gohar Khan, the chairman of Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-Insaf (PTI) party who also acts as the former prime minister’s lawyer, called on “all institutions” in Pakistan to respect his party’s mandate.

At a press conference, he said if complete results of the polls were not released by Saturday night, the party would hold peaceful protests on Sunday outside government offices returning election results around the country.

Sam Rkaina10 February 2024 20:36

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Protests taking place ahead of the result

Alex Ross10 February 2024 14:12

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Watch: Parties protest outside Election Commission over result

Vishwam Sankaran10 February 2024 12:20

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Imran Khan’s party attempting to form government – report

Former prime minister Imran Khan’s party is attempting to form a government as candidates he backed in the general election had won the most, a senior aide to the former cricketer-turned-politician said.

The party’s interim chief Gohar Ali Khan urged all institutions to respect the party’s mandate.

Mr Ali Khan said at a press conference that if complete results were not released by Saturday night, the party would hold a peaceful protest the following day.

Vishwam Sankaran10 February 2024 11:45

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Pakistan says mobile phone cuts were necessary on polling day

Hitting back at criticism by world leaders over the conduct of its parliamentary elections, Pakistan said its polls were conducted “peacefully and successfully.”

Pakistan’s foreign office said it was surprised by “the negative tone of some of these statements, which neither take into account the complexity of the electoral process nor acknowledge the free and enthusiastic exercise of the right to vote by tens of millions of Pakistanis”.

It said there was “no nationwide internet shutdown” and “only mobile services were suspended for the day to avoid terrorist incidents on polling day.”

Vishwam Sankaran10 February 2024 11:00

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Former Pakistan national assembly member injured in firing

Mohsin Dawar, former parliament member and leader of the National Democratic Movement (NDM), has been taken to a hospital after he was injured in a firing incident in North Waziristan’s Miranshah.

Dawar’s party leader Bushra Gohar demanded an inquiry into the firing and “arrests of the culprits.”

“I also wanted to ask them to make arrangements for shifting Dawar and others critically injured to Peshawar,” she said.

Ex-human rights minister Shireen Mazari also posted on X that the incident was“totally condemnable“.

Vishwam Sankaran10 February 2024 10:24

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US congressman accuses Pakistan military of ‘rigging’ election

American congressman Ro Khanna alleged that the Pakistani military has been “rigging” the country’s just-held general elections to “prop up” its candidate.

“There is huge news today out of Pakistan, the most consequential since the country’s founding in 1947. Here’s what’s going on. The military had supported the current prime minister, but most of the people in Pakistan voted for Imran Khan,” Mr Khanna said in a video shared on social media.

“The military basically has been raging, at least that’s the allegation, rigging the election results to be interfering to prop up their military candidate,” he said, adding that the US should not recognise an “illegitimate government” in Pakistan.

Vishwam Sankaran10 February 2024 09:50

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