The former international cricket star Imran Khan has declared victory in Pakistan’s general election, hailing what he described as “the fairest” vote in the country’s history, despite widespread allegations it was rigged in favour of his Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party.
In a televised address to the nation from his house in Bani Gala, a wealthy suburb of Islamabad, Khan struck a unifying tone, pledging to rise above personal attacks and lift up the poor.
With half the vote counted – more than 15 hours after the official result was due – the PTI was projected to win about 120 of the 272 contested seats in the national assembly, leaving it only a few shy of a majority coalition.
- Pakistan will have to wait until Thursday evening for official results to be announced, election officials have said, a full 24 hours after polls closed on Wednesday evening.
- With less than half of the vote counted, Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party is ahead in projected partial results, leading in 100 seats, to the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PMLN)’s 68 seats.
- Most projections have the PTI winning between 107 and 120 seats, short of the 137 seats needed to form a majority government, meaning the PTI may have to make a deal with some of the nation’s smaller parties.
- Though results are not official, Khan supporters have been celebrating overnight, with a PTI spokesman copping criticism for calling Imran Khan “prime minister” and congratulating him on his victory while counting was still underway in more than half the constituencies.
- There have been widespread allegations of election rigging, with party officials claiming voting irregularities, including that polling agents were not allowed into polling stations and voters were not given forms on time.
- The election commissioner has denied any allegations of tampering, saying the elections were “100% fair and transparent”.
- Election day was best with violence: at least 31 people were killed on Wednesday in a suicide attack outside a ballot station in Quetta and others were killed in shooting attacks around the country.
- About 106 million registered voters were eligible to vote before polls closed at 6pm local time.
- Women in the highly conservative northern regions of Dir, Kohistan and Waziristan voted for the first time in decades.
The Strait Times: Mr Imran Khan, the cricket legend and charismatic Pakistani politician challenging Pakistan’s mightiest political dynasty, was leading early on Thursday (July 26) in national parliamentary elections that were marred by claims of fraud and a suicide bombing near a polling station that killed at least 31.
There were no official results by 1am local time, but numerous TV news channels showed Mr Khan and other candidates in his Pakistan Justice Movement leading in 100 to 120 districts, while candidates from the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-N party were reported leading in 42 to 50 districts, and other parties trailed behind.
Mr Khan would need to win 141 of 272 seats to form his own government.
AP: The head of Pakistan’s former ruling party has rejected the results of the country’s parliamentary elections before the results are announced, claiming the vote was rigged.
Shahbaz Sharif, who heads the Pakistan Muslim League party, said the results of Wednesday’s vote were being tampered with. He didn’t provide any evidence or elaborate.
His allegation came hours after the closing of polls Wednesday, although the country’s elections oversight body was yet to announce even the first result of the elections.
The vote was overshadowed by violence in which 31 people were killed when a bomber blew himself up outside a polling station in the southwestern city of Quetta.