Pakistan's Khan leads in projected partial poll results as opponent cries foul

26 July, 2018, 18:50 | Author: Isabel Grant
  • Elections 2018       by Muhammad Irfan | Published

"Allah has given me the opportunity to implement what I have dreamt of Pakistan", an apparently jubilant Khan said in his long-awaited victory speech on Thursday.

However, it still remains to be seen who manages to be the Prime Minister of the country, which has in its history of 7p years been ruled by the military for a long decade.

The polling started at 8:00 a.m. local time Wednesday and continued uninterrupted up to 6:00 p.m. local time.

The partial results came after millions of voters turned out despite a bomb blast near a polling station that took at least 29 lives and a campaign marked by rancor, terrorist attacks, accusations of military meddling, and the dramatic return of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif to serve a prison term for financial misdeeds. Polling schemes were poorly rationalised, with many voters in the Lahore Cantonment, for instance, indicating they did not know where to go to vote.

Several rival party leaders had earlier alleged that the delay was caused by a "wicked conspiracy" or pressure by PTI.

Late Wednesday, the once-mighty Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), which had been in power since 2013, rejected the results because of "outright rigging", and vowed it would use "all political and legal options for redressal of these glaring excesses".

A delay has been reported in the transmission of election results due to the breaking down of the ECP's Results Transmission System (RTS), which is being run through a software powered by National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra).

"Khan as prime minister is unlikely to challenge the army's authority on policies including national security, defence, and relations with India, Afghanistan, and the US", Mr Shailesh Kumar, Asia director at Eurasia Group in NY, said in a report.

According to the projections around midnight and based on reporting of 26 per cent of polling stations by ECP, the PTI was leading in 110 seats, PML-N in 67 and the Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari-led Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) A was trailing at number three with 41 seats.

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The victor will face a crumbling economy and bloodshed by militants, who sent a suicide bomber to a crowded polling station in the south-western city of Quetta to carry out a deadly attack that killed 31 people.

Regardless of whether Khan, with his legions of youthful grass-roots followers, is able to defeat the troubled Muslim League, analysts predicted that neither party would win enough votes to form a government, leading to a period of weak coalition rule with the Pakistan People's Party, or possibly a hung Parliament, with the military exercising more power behind the scenes. Sharif has clashed repeatedly with the military over the years and was jailed this month on corruption charges, which he is appealing.

A single party would need 137 seats of the 272 seats in the National Assembly to form an independent government in the country.

The PML-N and the PPP both said their monitors in many voting centres had not received the official notifications of the precinct's results, but instead got handwritten tallies that they could not verify.

Officials say an official count will be declared on Thursday evening.

"I anticipate the debate over rigging will occupy the political elite for some time", she said.

According to a CNN report, South Asia expert Michael Kugelman states that despite Khan's promise of a "New Pakistan", the military will continue to hold a dominant position in the hierarchy of power in the nation.

In other areas, it said, "polling staff appeared to be biased toward a certain party", without naming the party.

"PML-N and PPP were running under constraints and PTI was operating with complete freedom and establishment backing".

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