Independent Candidates Take the Lead

Independent Candidates Take the Lead

TV reports indicate that independent candidates affiliated with jailed former leader Imran Khan are leading in Pakistan’s Elections. Conversely, it appears that candidates from the Conservative Party (PML-N) associated with ex-Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif are not faring as well, according to several broadcasters who shared this information on Friday, referencing ongoing vote tallying.

There were initially very few official results available. The election has been marred with allegations of manipulation and violence.

The broadcasting station Geo News reported that most of the independent candidates, who largely remain loyal to Khan, have won 47 out of the 106 constituencies for which results have been declared. The PML-N, on the other hand, has so far only secured 17 seats as per this count.

Eligibility of 130 million people to vote

There were 265 seats at stake in the election held on Thursday. A new parliament and four provincial assemblies were voted for. The total number of voters was 130 million.

The popular former leader Khan, founder of the nationalist-centrist Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (Pakistan Movement for Justice/PTI) party in 1996, was sentenced to lengthy prison terms last week for charges including bribery, treason, and an illegal marriage. Several of his PTI party colleagues were also disqualified from the election.

Despite this, many independent candidates, a number of whom were endorsed by the PTI, participated in the election. Given the crackdown on the PTI, it was anticipated that Sharif’s PML-N would secure the majority of the parliamentary seats. However, media reports suggest that the election outcome may not align with these expectations.

Pakistan, the world’s fifth most populated country with 240 million citizens and a nuclear power, is currently facing an economic crisis. The inflation rate hovers around 30% and the rupee has been drastically devalued over the past three years.

More than 17 hours post the closure of polls, a significant portion of the election results remained unpublished. On Friday morning, the Interior Ministry attributed this delay to issues with the transmission of votes after mobile networks and internet services were heavily restricted on election day for alleged security reasons.