PML-N alleges vote rigging as Imran Khan tipped for victory
Shahbaz Sharif, the chief of the Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), dismissed outcomes from Wednesday’s nationwide ballot as counting was nonetheless underway.
“At present what they’ve finished has pushed Pakistan again 30 years… We reject this end result,” Sharif, the brother of Pakistan’s jailed ex-leader Nawaz Sharif, advised a press convention in Lahore.
“Folks is not going to bear it,” he added.
The election has been marred by widespread allegations of pre-poll meddling by the highly effective navy in favour of Khan, which noticed the method dubbed Pakistan’s “dirtiest election”.
As election staff sorted by means of huge piles of paper ballots, different main events together with the Pakistan Peoples Social gathering (PPP) additionally alleged the depend was being manipulated.
“My candidates complaining polling brokers have been thrown out of polling stations throughout the nation,” tweeted PPP chief Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, including: “Inexcusable & outrageous”.
It’s now previous midnight & I haven’t obtained official outcomes from any constituency I’m contesting my myself. My ca… https://t.co/cYnOSftWdo
— BilawalBhuttoZardari (@BBhuttoZardari) 1532546465000
In a WhatsApp message, the PML-N additionally claimed that safety forces had taken over polling stations.
The Election Fee’s secretary Babar Yaqoob flatly denied allegations of vote depend manipulation.
Shortly earlier than Sharif spoke round midnight, state tv stated that only one fifth of the votes had been counted to date — an unusually sluggish depend that additional fuelled suspicions of rigging.
However Yaqoob stated the vote-counting system, which he stated was untested, had “crashed”, including: “There’s undoubtedly no conspiracy, nobody desires to affect the outcomes”.
Sharif vowed later by way of Twitter to make use of “all political and authorized choices for redressal of those evident excesses”, including that the social gathering would meet on Thursday to determine a means ahead.
“That is full chaos,” analyst Azeema Cheema advised AFP.
“Too many events are making the declare (of rigging)… They’re all saying the identical issues: the established guidelines and procedures haven’t been adopted, the military has kicked their polling brokers out of the polling cubicles, and that they’ve been intimidated.”
PTI supporters had been already celebrating in cities throughout the nation, together with Lahore, Islamabad, Multan, Karachi and Rawalpindi, with fireworks, dancing and reviews of celebratory gunfire.
“Imran is trustworthy. He’s a cool chief,” first-time voter Ammar Haider, 20, advised AFP at a avenue celebration in Islamabad.
The rigging allegations got here after a suicide bombing within the southwestern metropolis of Quetta, claimed by the Islamic State (IS) group, killed a minimum of 31 individuals close to a polling station, casting a shadow over voting day.
Wednesday’s vote was meant to be a uncommon democratic transition of energy within the populous however poor nuclear-armed Muslim nation, which has been dominated by the armed forces for roughly half its historical past.
The competition largely turned a two-way race between Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and the PML-N of ousted premier Nawaz Sharif, whose brother Shahbaz is main its marketing campaign.
Bhutto — son of slain prime minister Benazir Bhutto — and his PPP may very well be referred to as upon to kind a coalition with any winner.
To kind a majority authorities outright, the competition’s winner would wish to grab 137 seats.
Gallup Pakistan estimated turnout at between 50 to 55 % in an citizens of practically 106 million, just like the earlier contest in 2013.
Probably the most populous province of Punjab — which has 141 out of the 272 immediately elected seats within the Nationwide Meeting — is a key battleground, analysts have stated.
Some voters in Lahore, capital of Punjab and historically a PML-N stronghold, stated they had been abandoning the social gathering in favour of PTI.
“I’ve voted for PML-N my entire life however this time I voted for PTI as a result of Imran Khan has promised free training and well being,” stated 75-year-old Uzma Akram.
As much as 800,000 police and troops had been stationed at greater than 85,000 polling stations throughout the nation, after a string of assaults concentrating on political occasions within the closing weeks of the marketing campaign killed greater than 180 individuals.
Khan, 65, campaigned on populist guarantees to construct a “New Pakistan” and vowed to eradicate corruption, clear up the atmosphere and assemble an “Islamic welfare” state.
However his bid for energy was dogged by widespread accusations he’s benefiting from a “silent coup” by the generals.
The navy has rejected the accusations.
Election authorities granted navy officers broad powers inside polling centres which additional stirred fears of manipulation.
Khan has additionally more and more catered to hardline spiritual teams, notably over the inflammatory difficulty of blasphemy, sparking fears a win for PTI may embolden Islamist extremists.
The PML-N says it’s the goal of the alleged navy machinations. Nawaz Sharif was ousted from energy final yr and jailed over a corruption conviction days earlier than the vote, eradicating Khan’s most harmful rival.