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Pakistan election – live: Results drag on amid concerns of fraud as Imran Khan and Nawaz Sharif both claim win

The US and the UK 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 results in sight.

Jailed former prime minister Mr Khan claimed victory in an audio-visual message created using artificial intelligence hours after rival Nawaz Sharif did so.

The US Department of State, the UK, and the European Union separately expressed concerns about Pakistan’s electoral process.

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”.

Several US parliamentarians also echoed statements by the Department of State urging for a probe into the electoral process.

Sharif supporters celebrate (EPA)
Sharif supporters celebrate (EPA)

Independent candidates backed by 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.

Pakistan’s army chief Gen Asim Munir said the country needs “stable hands” and a “healing touch” to move on from the politics of “anarchy and polarisation.”

Key Points

  • Imran Khan claims win in AI-generated message

  • Nawaz Sharif says he wants coalition

  • Khan’s party on course for stunning victory

  • Several bomb attacks and firing disrupt voting across Pakistan

UK foreign minister expresses 'serious concerns' over 'fairness' of Pakistan elections

03:45 , Vishwam Sankaran

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.

Now Imran Khan claims victory

Friday 9 February 2024 19:27 , Jane Dalton

Jailed former Prime Minister Imran Khan has claimed victory, hours after rival Nawaz Sharif did so.

In an audio-visual message created using artificial intelligence and shared on his social media account, Khan rejected Sharif’s earlier claim to victory.

Khan called on his supporters to celebrate a win that was achieved despite what he calls a crackdown on his party.

Independent candidates backed by Khan won the most seats in Thursday’s national election, despite his being in jail and his party barred from the polls.

Protests taking place ahead of the result

14:12 , Alex Ross

Watch: Parties protest outside Election Commission over result

12:20 , Vishwam Sankaran

Pakistan political parties protest amid ‘serious’ concerns over election result

Imran Khan's party attempting to form government – report

11:45 , Vishwam Sankaran

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.

Pakistan says mobile phone cuts were necessary on polling day

11:00 , Vishwam Sankaran

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.”

Former Pakistan national assembly member injured in firing

10:24 , Vishwam Sankaran

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“.

US congressman accuses Pakistan military of 'rigging' election

09:50 , Vishwam Sankaran

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.

Nawaz Sharif says he wants ‘better relation with neighbours’ after claiming 'victory'

09:15 , Vishwam Sankaran

In a premature victory speech, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif said he hoped to have “better relations with neighbours” after forming the new government.

“God willing, we will have better relations with our neighbours,” Mr Sharif said, in what seemed to be an indirect message to India.

“Our agenda will be to have a better relationship with the world and our neighbours...,” he said.

Pakistan’s election commission hasn’t officially announced the results yet as both Mr Sharif and candidates backed by ex-prime minister Imran Khan have independently claimed victory.

US senate committee condemns bombings during Pakistan elections

08:45 , Vishwam Sankaran

The US Senate foreign relations committee condemned bombings at campaign offices in Pakistan amid the country’s parliamentary elections.

“I condemn in the strongest terms the deadly bombings at election campaign offices in Balochistan and send my condolences to the victims and their families. These attacks must be investigated and the perpetrators need to be held accountable,” Senator Ben Cardin, chair of the committee, said in a statement.

“While I appreciate those in Pakistan who cast a vote in the electoral process this week, these long overdue elections were sadly overshadowed by actions that prevented the meaningful participation of all political parties and candidates,” he said.

Imran Khan granted bail as coalition talks continue

08:16 , Vishwam Sankaran

An anti-terror court has granted Pakistan’s former prime minister Imran Khan and ex-foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi bail in multiple cases linked to the 9 May riots.

The Rawalpindi court said there was no reason to keep Mr Khan in custody as all accused in the cases have been granted bail.

Independent candidates linked to Mr Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party have come on top in the general elections despite several hurdles including the loss of their electoral symbol – a cricket bat – and the detention of the party’s key leaders.

However, no clear winner has emerged in the elections with both Mr Khan and the trailing candidate former prime minister Nawaz Sharif eyeing to form a coalition government.

Success of elections an 'undeniable fact,' says Pakistan Foreign Office

07:45 , Vishwam Sankaran

Pakistan’s foreign office said it was “surprised by the negative tone” of some countries and organisations about the general elections.

“These statements ignore the undeniable fact that Pakistan has held general elections, peacefully and successfully, while dealing with serious security threats resulting primarily from foreign-sponsored terrorism,” the foreign office said in a statement.

“While we value constructive advice from our friends, making negative commentary even before the completion of electoral process is neither constructive nor objective,” it added.

Protests as unofficial results celebrated by some candidates overturned

07:15 , Vishwam Sankaran

A wave of protests erupted in Pakistan’s Balochistan as the initial unofficial results, celebrated by some candidates as victories, were overturned the next day.

The previous “winning” candidates fell to second and third positions, as per official results declared in the province.

This led to nearly all major political parties – including the PPP and PML-N – staging sit-ins, Dawn reported.

Australia expresses regret for Pakistanis' 'restricted choice' of parties

07:04 , Vishwam Sankaran

The Australian government said it was regrettable that the people of Pakistan were restricted in their choice in the election as “not all political parties were allowed to contest.”

“Australia supports a democratic, stable, and prosperous Pakistan which upholds its commitments to democratic principles including human rights, media freedoms, freedom of expression, and freedom of association,” the government said in a statement.

However, the country welcomed the voter turnout in the Pakistan general elections and the increase in the number of women registered to vote.

Independents lead as results yet to be announced for 15 seats

06:30 , Vishwam Sankaran

Independent candidates, many backed by ex-prime minister Imran Khan, are still in the lead with wins in 99 seats as the polling results in 15 seats remain to be announced.

Pakistan parliamentary election party position (Election Commission of Pakistan)
Pakistan parliamentary election party position (Election Commission of Pakistan)

Meanwhile, PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif and the co-chairman of the Pakistan Peoples Party Asif Ali Zardari reportedly met in Lahore on Friday.

Both sides exchanged views about the formation of a forthcoming government in the country, according to Radio Pakistan.

Nation needs 'healing touch' to move on from 'anarchy' and 'polarisation': Pakistan army chief

06:00 , Vishwam Sankaran

Pakistan’s army chief Gen Asim Munir said the country needs “stable hands” and a “healing touch” to move on from the politics of “anarchy and polarisation.”

“Political leadership and their workers should rise above self-interests and synergise efforts in governing and serving the people which is perhaps the only way to make democracy functional and purposeful,” Mr Munir said.

The Army chief wished for the elections to bring in political and economic stability, and bring peace and prosperity to Pakistan.

“As the people of Pakistan have reposed their combined trust in the Constitution of Pakistan, it is now incumbent upon all political parties to reciprocate the same with political maturity and unity,” he added.

Nawaz Sharif plans coalition government to achieve stability – report

05:26 , Vishwam Sankaran

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) candidate and former prime minister Nawaz Sharif is reportedly planning a coalition government with former allies Pakistan Peoples Party to achieve political stability, Radio Pakistan reports.

Former president Asif Ali Zardari, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, and Faryal Talpur met with PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif in Lahore last night, according to the report.

This comes following Nawaz Sharif’s hinting in his premature victory speech at forming a “unity government.”

“It is everyone’s Pakistan. If we work together, only then will Pakistan overcome this crisis,” he said.

Pakistan army chief congratulates nation for voter turnout

05:15 , Vishwam Sankaran

Pakistan Army’s Chief of Staff Gen Asim Munir congratulated the nation on the successful conduct of the 2024 parliamentary election.

“Free and unhindered participation by Pakistani people to exercise their right of vote demonstrated their commitment to democracy and the rule of law as enshrined in Constitution of Pakistan,” Mr Munir said.

“Leadership and personnel of law-enforcement agencies deserve our highest appreciation for creating a safe and secure environment for the electoral process, despite overwhelming odds,” he said, also congratulating the Election Commission of Pakistan, the caretaker government, political parties, and the winning candidates.

EU claims Pakistan elections lacked 'level playing field'

04:01 , Vishwam Sankaran

The European Union, the US, and the UK have independently expressed serious concerns about Pakistan’s election yesterday and have called for a probe into irregularities reported in the process.

Ex-prime minister Imran Khan is in jail and his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party was barred from the polls.

Both former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s party and candidates backed by Mr Khan have claimed victory separately.

The EU claimed there was a “lack of a level playing field” in the election with some political parties facing an “inability” to contest.

There were also restrictions to freedom of assembly, freedom of expression, and internet access, the European Union said.

While the EU said it would work with the next government, it did not congratulate any particular candidate or party.

US congress representatives call for 'full investigation' into Pakistan elections

03:30 , Vishwam Sankaran

Several members of the US congress took to X, calling for a “full investigation” into the Pakistan elections.

The US Department of State, the UK, and the European Union all independently expressed concerns on Friday about Pakistan’s electoral process as both incumbent prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s party and former prime minister Imran Khan claimed victory.

US congresswomen and men have echoed the state department’s call for an investigation into “claims of election interference or fraud in Pakistan.”

“Now is the time for the international community to stand on the side of the people of Pakistan. We cannot recognize a new government until it is clear that democracy has prevailed,” Congresswoman Susan Wild representing Pennsylvania’s 7th congressional district posted on X.

“The U.S. should ensure that a credible, independent investigation is completed before recognizing a result. We must protect democracy & the will of the people,” Greg Casar, representing the Texas congressional district 35, said.

Pakistan’s choice at election today: The lion, the millennial or the cricketer

03:00 , Alexander Butler

Pakistan’s choice at election: The lion, the millennial or the cricketer

Pakistan election credibility already marred by internet blackout

02:00 , Alexander Butler

Pakistan election credibility already dented by internet blackout and delays

Who is Bushra Bibi – former Pakistan PM Imran Khan’s wife jailed for 14 years in graft case?

01:00 , Alexander Butler

Who is Bushra Bibi – Imran Khan’s wife jailed for 14 years in graft case?

What you need to know about candidates, key issues and what this election means for the country

00:01 , Alexander Butler

Pakistan election: What you need to know about candidates, key issues and what’s next

What is Imran Khan’s appeals process following two new major convictions?

Friday 9 February 2024 23:00 , Alexander Butler

What is Imran Khan’s appeals process following two new major convictions?

UN rights body expresses alarm at ‘pattern of harassment’ of Imran Khan’s party

Friday 9 February 2024 22:00 , Alexander Butler

UN rights body expresses alarm at ‘pattern of harassment’ of Imran Khan’s party

US, UK, EU urge probe into Pakistan election

Friday 9 February 2024 21:40 , Alexander Butler

The United States, Britain and the European Union on Friday separately expressed concerns about Pakistan’s electoral process in the wake of a vote on Thursday and urged a probe into reported irregularities.

The main battle was between former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s party and candidates backed by ex-prime minister Imran Khan. Both declared victory separately.

Elections were held for 265 seats in the national assembly and a political party needs 133 seats for a simple majority.

The US and the EU both mentioned allegations of interference, including arrests of activists, and added that claims of irregularities, interference and fraud should be fully investigated.

Sharif’s return to Pakistan last year

Friday 9 February 2024 21:20 , Jane Dalton

From 2019 until last year, Nawaz Sharif lived in London:

Nawaz Sharif returns to Pakistan after a 4-year self-imposed exile

In pictures: Sharif supporters

Friday 9 February 2024 20:50 , Jane Dalton

 (EPA)
(EPA)
 (EPA)
(EPA)
 (AP)
(AP)

PTI on 98 seats against PML-N’s 67

Friday 9 February 2024 20:09 , Jane Dalton

With 90 per cent of the 266 National Assembly results announced by the election oversight body, candidates backed by Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party, or PTI, had won 98 seats.

The Pakistan Muslim League party of three-time premier Sharif, had 67 seats.

However, with a third major party in the mix, it was too soon for any party to declare victory.

Election result unprecedented, says expert

Friday 9 February 2024 19:14 , Jane Dalton

An expert on democracy in Pakistan says the election result is unprecedented.

“In the face of thousands of arrests and an internet blackout, candidates backed by former prime minister Imran Khan’s party have dealt a blow to military-backed candidate Nawas Sharif, leaving him unable to form a majority government,” said Maya Tudor, Associate Professor at the Blavatnik School of Government.

“This is unprecedented in Pakistan’s recent history where every election has gone the military’s way.

“This is a really important result, even more so because Pakistan is a nuclear-armed country that is not only being squeezed economically and democratically, but also under immense pressure as ground zero for climate change, as the floods in 2022 demonstrated.

“The most hopeful moment in Pakistan’s brief democratic history was the 2006 pact between two political parties – the PPP and the PML-N – who agreed not to appeal to the military in a bid to claim the upper hand.

“We don’t know what the future holds this time but it’s vital now that the country gains stability.”

 (EPA)
(EPA)

Imran Khan’s party on course for stunning victory as its independents lead count

Friday 9 February 2024 15:45 , Jane Dalton

Imran Khan’s PTI party was on course for a stunning victory in Pakistan’s general election on Friday in a set of much-delayed results that led to widespread accusations of vote tampering and rigging:

Imran Khan’s party on course for stunning Pakistan election victory

Pakistan gets first woman winner from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa city

Friday 9 February 2024 15:30 , Arpan Rai

Suriya Bibi is the first woman to secure victory in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Chitral city, reported Dawn.

Bibi is a Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf-backed candidate and has won 18,914 votes in the region, according to the provisional results announced by the Election Commission of Pakistan.

She has defeated the JUI-F candidate Shakeel Ahmad.

Sharif says he wants coalition

Friday 9 February 2024 15:20 , Jane Dalton

Nawaz Sharif has admitted his party does not have the numbers to form government itself.

All parties in Pakistan should get together to form a government, he said.

In a change of tack, he said he would seek a coalition.

Khan-backed candidates on 86 seats

Friday 9 February 2024 15:17 , Jane Dalton

Independent candidates, most backed by Imran Khan, have won 86 out of 201 counted seats so far in the general election, according to the election body’s website.

Sharif’s PML party still struggling to win enought seats

Friday 9 February 2024 15:10 , Jane Dalton

Nawaz Sharif did not disclose how many seats his party had won after he claimed victory, and counting is still under way in the last few of the 265 seats that went to the polls.

The latest count published by the election panel showed his Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) winning 42 seats, much below the 133 mark needed to stake claim to form a government.

Mr Sharif said his deputies would meet other political parties later in the day to talk about forming a coalition government.

Sharif family bags all seats contested in safe city Lahore

Friday 9 February 2024 15:00 , Arpan Rai

The Sharif family contesting the Pakistan elections have won all seats contested in Lahore, according to the early results announced today.

While PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif won against a candidate backed by Imran Khan by a whopping 171,024 votes, his daughter Maryam Nawaz won the Punjab seat by 83,855 votes.

His younger brother Shehbaz Sharif, who briefly served as Pakistan’s prime minister, has won his Lahore seat by 105,960 votes.

Lahore has long been a political stronghold for the Sharif family, although Khan’s PTI made significant inroads in the city at the last election.

Sharif declares victory

Friday 9 February 2024 14:42 , Jane Dalton

Ex-prime minister Nawaz Sharif has declared victory in Pakistan’s general elections – even though independent candidates backed by rival Imran Khan were reportedly in the lead.

Mr Sharif said his Pakistan Muslim League was the largest party after more than 150 National Assembly results were announced.

Prime minister hopeful Nawaz Sharif loses his seat

Friday 9 February 2024 14:30 , Arpan Rai

Nawaz Sharif, the PML-N candidate and former prime minister who was the favourite to come out of this election leading the country, has lost his Mansehra constituency seat in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, reported Geo news.

While Sharif secured 80,382 votes, the PTI-backed independent candidate Shahzada Mohammad Gustasif Khan claimed victory with 105,249 votes, the report added.

Sharif will still enter parliament as an MP however, having won another seat he contested in Lahore. Under Pakistan’s election rules, individuals can contest multiple seats and elect the one they want to represent if they win in more than one.

Lack of clear majority could cause trouble for Pakistan economy

Friday 9 February 2024 14:00 , Arpan Rai

Analysts are predicting the problems will mount for Pakistan and its economy if the election does not result in a clear majority for anyone.

There are concerns that things will become particularly tricky given Islamabad’s request for a new bailout programme from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) after the current arrangement expires in three weeks.

A coalition government “would probably be unstable, weak” and “the big loser... will be the army. Because the army really has staked its reputation on its ability to deliver this vote”, said Marvin Weinbaum, director of Afghanistan and Pakistan studies at the Middle East Institute in Washington.

The election was expected to help resolve the crises Pakistan has been dealing with but a fractured verdict “could very well be the basis for even deeper exposure to forces which would create instability”, he said.

Imran Khan-backed independents still lead with half results in

Friday 9 February 2024 13:00 , Arpan Rai

Results from over half the constituencies in Pakistan are in and independent candidates backed by jailed former prime minister Imran Khan have won the most seats so far.

Of the 136 seats that have declared as of Friday evening, of a total 235 contested, 49 seats were won by independent candidates backed by Khan’s PTI party, a Reuters tally of results declared by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) showed.

Trailing closely in second was former premier Nawaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) with 42, while the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) of Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, the son of assassinated premier Benazir Bhutto, have 34.

Almost 24 hours have passed since the Election Commission announced the end of voting. Initially expected in the small hours of Friday morning, the results have been unusually delayed, as the authorities blamed technical issues for the delay.

Winning party has a ‘rocky road ahead’

Friday 9 February 2024 12:30 , Maroosha Muzaffar

As candidates backed by former prime minister Imran Khan’s party have taken a shocking lead, Maya Tudor, associate professor at the Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford believes a win for PTI-backed candidates would be remarkable.

“A win would be remarkable. The odds were stacked against Khan. The military used every tool in the toolbox to weaken the power of the PTI party, from banning their cricket bat symbol to an internet blackout on voting day,” she was quoted as saying by Al Jazeera.

“But even if PTI-backed candidates can win, the road ahead is rocky. A shaky economy, conflict on almost every border, and soaring inflation, which is being felt everyday by ordinary Pakistanis.

“If there is no clear winner, the uncertainty will add to these woes.”

ICYMI: Human Rights Commission of Pakistan raises alarm over election result delay

Friday 9 February 2024 12:15 , Maroosha Muzaffar

The Lahore-based Human Rights Commission of Pakistan has said it “deplores” the delay in announcing the election results. In a statement posted on X, it said: “HRCP deplores the delay in announcement of #election results, which, under Rule 84 of the Election Rules, should have been communicated by the returning officers to the @ECP_Pakistan by 2 AM this morning and made public shortly thereafter.

“If, under the Rules, the returning officers had incomplete results by this time, they were legally bound to tell the ECP why, also indicating which vote counts were still awaited. This lack of transparency is deeply concerning. Moreover, we see no plausible reason to attribute this delay to any extraordinary circumstances that might justify it.”

At the moment, PTI-backed independents are in the lead with PML-N and PPP close behind.

Baqir Sajjad, Pakistan fellow at the Washington-based Wilson Center think tank, wrote on X: “What’s happening in Pakistan with election results is unfortunate. The escalation of discontent does not paint a promising picture for the country’s future. It’s saddening to witness deliberate efforts to intensify these feelings for petty interests.”

Pakistan’s choice at election: The lion, the millennial or the cricketer

Friday 9 February 2024 11:45 , Maroosha Muzaffar

Despite a crackdown against one of its most popular parties and doubts over the role of the powerful military establishment, there is an air of anticipation regarding Pakistan’s election. Arpan Rai reports:

Pakistan’s choice at election: The lion, the millennial or the cricketer

Pakistan polls 2024: What you need to know about candidates, key issues and what this election means for the country

Friday 9 February 2024 11:30 , Maroosha Muzaffar

Pakistanis headed to the polls to elect a new parliament on Thursday in a race that essentially boils down to top few parties:

Pakistan election: What you need to know about candidates, key issues and what’s next

Pakistan’s information minister claims there was no internet blockade on election day

Friday 9 February 2024 11:23 , Maroosha Muzaffar

Pakistan’s minister of information, Murtaza Solangi said on Friday that internet services were not blocked in the country on 8 February despite cyber watchdogs claiming that mobile phone services and internet access were disrupted across the country on Thursday.

“The suspension of internet services was not introduced in Pakistan […] it has happened in the US, Britain and even our neighbouring country,” he stated. “No one has fought terrorism as much as we have,” he was quoted as saying by Dawn.

Pakistan election credibility already marred by internet blackout and slow count amid anxious wait for results

Friday 9 February 2024 11:15 , Maroosha Muzaffar

With results slowly trickling in, analysts say the past two years of political turmoil show the Pakistani military’s grip on power is as tight as ever. Shweta Sharma reports:

Pakistan election credibility already dented by internet blackout and delays

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan raises alarm over election result delay

Friday 9 February 2024 11:15 , Maroosha Muzaffar

The Lahore-based Human Rights Commission of Pakistan has said it “deplores” the delay in announcing the election results.In a statement posted on X, it said: “HRCP deplores the delay in announcement of #election results, which, under Rule 84 of the Election Rules, should have been communicated by the returning officers to the @ECP_Pakistan by 2 AM this morning and made public shortly thereafter.

“If, under the Rules, the returning officers had incomplete results by this time, they were legally bound to tell the ECP why, also indicating which vote counts were still awaited. This lack of transparency is deeply concerning. Moreover, we see no plausible reason to attribute this delay to any extraordinary circumstances that might justify it.”

At the moment, PTI-backed independents are in the lead with PML-N and PPP close behind.

Baqir Sajjad, Pakistan fellow at the Washington-based Wilson Center think tank, wrote on X: “What’s happening in Pakistan with election results is unfortunate. The escalation of discontent does not paint a promising picture for the country’s future. It’s saddening to witness deliberate efforts to intensify these feelings for petty interests.”

Winning party has a ‘rocky road ahead’

Friday 9 February 2024 11:00 , Maroosha Muzaffar

As candidates backed by former prime minister Imran Khan’s party have taken a shocking lead, Maya Tudor, associate professor at the Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford believes a win for PTI-backed candidates would be remarkable.

“A win would be remarkable. The odds were stacked against Khan. The military used every tool in the toolbox to weaken the power of the PTI party, from banning their cricket bat symbol to an internet blackout on voting day,” she was quoted as saying by Al Jazeera.

“But even if PTI-backed candidates can win, the road ahead is rocky. A shaky economy, conflict on almost every border, and soaring inflation, which is being felt everyday by ordinary Pakistanis.

“If there is no clear winner, the uncertainty will add to these woes.”

ICYMI: Google Doodle marks Pakistan’s 2024 national elections

Friday 9 February 2024 10:50 , Maroosha Muzaffar

8 February’s Google Doodle depicts a ballot box with the Pakistan flag with a vote being posted for the next parliament:

Read the full article here:

Google Doodle marks Pakistan’s 2024 national elections

Curfew imposed in capital Islamabad

Friday 9 February 2024 10:25 , Maroosha Muzaffar

Islamabad police say they are enforcing Section 144 orders banning public gatherings in the Pakistan capital as election results keep trickling in.

The police wrote on X: “In case of any illegal action, action will be taken. Respect for the law is mandatory for everyone. Legal action will be taken in case of any disturbance.”

When in force, a Section 144 order prohibits gatherings of four or more people. This section of the Criminal Procedure Code of Pakistan also empowers the district government to issue orders and/or ban any activity for a specific time in any region.

Police say the move is aimed at maintaining law and order once the results are out.

Imran Khan’s demise has been swift and brutal – but it would be a mistake to write him off

Friday 9 February 2024 10:10 , Maroosha Muzaffar

Just a few years ago the former cricketer had successfully conquered Pakistan’s tumultuous political landscape – now he’s facing 14 years behind bars. Yet all is not lost for the man who once made even the country’s feared military fall into line, writes Omar Waraich:

Imran Khan’s demise has been swift and brutal – but it’s a mistake to write him off

Imran Khan ‘in no mood for reconciliation'

Friday 9 February 2024 09:55 , Maroosha Muzaffar

“I think that just because [Imran] Khan is in jail now does not mean that he’s done. His desire and capacity to reconcile with the military and his recent messages from his jail cell suggest he’s in no mood for reconciliation, but that may change,” Michael Kugelman, the Director of the South Asia Institute at the Wilson Center, tells The Independent.

“There could still be many more years of productive politics for him,” Kugelman adds.

Meanwhile, candidates backed by PTI appear to be doing far better than expected in Pakistan’s election count, according to projections, maintaining a significant lead ahead of the party of favourite Nawaz Sharif.

Pakistan election credibility already marred by internet blackout and slow count amid anxious wait for results

Friday 9 February 2024 09:40 , Maroosha Muzaffar

“The elections have been anything but fair and credible,” columnist Mehr Tarar tells The Independent. “The situation here is bleak and the internet suspension is unprecedented as it did not happen during 2013 election when terrorism was at its peak.”

Read the full piece by Shweta Sharma here:

Pakistan election credibility already dented by internet blackout and delays

PTI leader says won’t form coalition with PPP or PML-N

Friday 9 February 2024 09:25 , Maroosha Muzaffar

PTI chairman Gohar Ali Khan has said that the party will not form any alliance with any other party to form the government if PTI-backed independents win the election.

He told Geo News: “We do not have any contact with PPP or PML-N” and claimed that the PTI won’t need to form any alliance as it is confident of winning the required number of seats to form the majority.

Meanwhile, PML-N leader Ishaq Dar claimed that the independents currently leading the polls are in contact with the party.

Analyst Michael Kugelman wrote on X: “Even if the PTI were declared the winner, the situation would be tricky, because its candidates had to run as independents. It would need to ensure that these winning independents don’t align with other parties. The establishment would likely pressure them to do so.”

PML-N ‘in touch’ with successful independents, party claims

Friday 9 February 2024 09:03 , Maroosha Muzaffar

PML-N official Ishaq Dar has claimed that the party is in contact with those independents who are leading at the moment in the count.

“The independents have contacted us and they will join any party in the next 72 hours as per the Constitution,” the former finance minister told Geo News today as results continue to pour in.

He claimed that PML-N is being contacted by independents who are willing to join their party.

Dar said that the PML-N cannot force anyone to join the party, adding that they are being contacted by candidates who are willing to join their party.

He added: “If independents did not join any political party then they will lose reserved seats. The independents are not even close to PML-N’s success in Punjab.”

What is Imran Khan’s appeals process following two new major convictions?

Friday 9 February 2024 09:00 , Shweta Sharma

Pakistan‘s former prime minister Imran Khan will take his long-drawn legal fight to the higher courts, his party says, after he was found guilty in two different cases just a week before the country’s general election.

Mr Khan and his wife, Bushra Bibi, were each awarded jail terms of 14 years last week for illegally selling gifts worth more than £395,000 from the state treasury, known as the “Toshakhana”, during his premiership. He was also barred from holding public office for 10 years and they were fined approximately £2.2m each.

The former cricket star-turned-politician was also handed another 10-year term a day earlier after being found guilty of revealing state secrets. He is already serving a three-year sentence for corruption.

What is Imran Khan’s appeals process following two new major convictions?