Imran Khan-backed independents lead in final poll count

February 11, 2024
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Pakistan’s national election vote count concluded on Sunday with independents, mostly backed by jailed former Prime Minister Imran Khan, winning 101 of the 264 seats, the election commission’s website showed.

The final tally was released more than 60 hours after voting concluded in Thursday’s national elections, a delay that has raised questions about the process.

The independents came in ahead of the party of another former prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, which won 75 seats, making it the largest single party in parliament as Khan’s independents ran as individuals.

Sharif has said his party is talking to other groups to form a coalition government as it had failed to win a clear majority on its own.

Khan’s PTI party had threatened to hold nationwide peaceful protests on Sunday if the vote tally was not released overnight, and some small protests took place overnight.

Pakistan’s interim government says the delay was caused by communication issues due to a mobile internet outage on election day. The outage, which authorities said was for security reasons, drew concern from rights groups and foreign governments, including the United States.

In a post on social media platform X on Sunday, a PTI party secretary called off general protests, but said there should be demonstrations at certain electoral offices where they were concerned about “forged” results.

Around 93 of the independent candidates who won seats were associated with Khan’s PTI 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 and 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.

One disadvantage the independents face in trying to form a government is they are not eligible to be allocated any of parliament’s 70 reserved seats, which are distributed according to party strength in the final tally. Sharif’s party could get up to 20 of these seats.

The election commission previously flagged that results for two seats could not yet be included — one in which a candidate was killed requiring the postponement of polling, and another in which polling would be completed later this month.



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