Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Imran Khan set to be Pakistan’s next PM

 Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan today claimed victory in the general elections after his party emerged as the single largest party in the National Assembly with its candidates winning 104 seats and leading in 14 others, amid rival political parties’ claim of “blatant” rigging.

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Jailed former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) won 58 seats and was leading in four constituencies while Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) led by former president Asif Ali Zardari won 37 seats and was leading in six seats according to the latest unofficial results. Pakistan’s National Assembly comprises a total of 342 members, of which 272 are directly elected whereas the rest – 60 seats reserved for women and 10 for religious minorities – are selected later through proportional representation among parties with more than five per cent of the vote.

A party can only form the government if it manages to clinch 172 seats in total. 

In his speech that was broadcast live via video link, Khan, who is set to be the next prime minister, said Pakistan is ready to improve its ties with India and his government would like the leaders of the two sides to resolve all disputes, including the “core issue” of Kashmir, through talks.

PML-N and PPP allege rigging

Two main parties – Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) – have raised questions on the transparency of the vote counting process, alleging their polling agents were not allowed to verify vote counts as is mandated by law. PML-N chief Shehbaz Sharif rejected the election results, alleging “blatant” rigging. He did not say who he believes could have rigged the polls, but allegations of manipulating the elections have been made against the country’s influential military.
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari also raised questions over the credibility of the election commission. “24 hours & ECP cant give me lyari and larkana results. Can’t explain discrepancies or delays,” the top PPP leader tweeted.  ECP has rejected the “blatant” rigging allegations.

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