Friday, April 19, 2024

Pakistan polls: Imran Khan’s allies lead halfway through vote count

Immigration News

Fidel Rahmati
Fidel Rahmati
Fidai Rahmati is the editor and content writer for Khaama Press. You may follow him at Twitter @FidelRahmati

Candidates loyal to imprisoned former prime minister Imran Khan have taken an early lead in Pakistan’s recent election, surpassing the two dynastic parties often favored by the military, according to Pakistani media outlets.

Imran Khan, barred from contesting the election, faced significant hurdles as his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party was subjected to a crackdown, including being blocked from holding rallies and removed from the ballot.

Despite these obstacles, initial results indicate that PTI loyalists have secured approximately 49 seats in the 266-member national assembly, with PTI’s stronghold in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa showing significant support.

The Punjab province, historically held by the family of former premier Nawaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), is still awaiting results, with PTI aiming to maintain its previous success in the region.

Independents are leading in several constituencies, a common occurrence in Pakistan’s political landscape, where candidates often affiliate with parties after winning.

The potential for horse-trading and deal-making arises as independents may align with different parties within 72 hours of victory, potentially impacting PTI’s prospects.

Analysts suggest that despite challenges, the election results demonstrate limitations to political engineering, indicating that the military does not always exert complete influence.

The election was marred by violence, particularly in border regions, with numerous attacks reported nationwide, resulting in casualties among security forces and civilians.

At least 16 people, including 10 security force members, were killed, and 54 others were wounded, as reported by Pakistani media outlets.

Delays in announcing results were attributed to a day-long mobile network shutdown during voting, raising concerns of potential rigging among citizens and opposition members.

The PML-N, expected to perform well, remains hopeful of success in Punjab, a pivotal province for forming a government.

The PPP, with strong links to the military but primarily popular in Sindh, showed unexpected strength in early results, according to its leader Bilawal Bhutto Zardari.

Imran Khan’s PTI, despite facing challenges and allegations, continues to maintain support, with concerns among supporters regarding potential tampering of election results.

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