In the recent Pakistani elections, the Muslim League (PML-N), led by ex-prime minister Nawaz Sharif, has claimed victory. Despite securing the most seats amongst the registered parties, the PML-N didn’t achieve a majority, with a significant number of seats going to independent candidates.
As of Saturday morning, with the vote count still in progress, independent candidates had claimed 99 of the 266 seats available in the Pakistani parliament. A strong connection is suspected between at least 88 of these independent candidates and another former prime minister, Imran Khan, who is currently in prison. These candidates are also believed to have ties to the PTI party, which was founded by Khan.
The PTI party was not permitted to participate in the elections under its own name, leading its candidates to run as independents. Pakistan’s powerful military has called for a resolution to this electoral standoff.
By Saturday, the PML-N had secured 71 seats, while the Pakistan People’s Party (PpP) had won 53. Minor parties accounted for 27 seats, and the results of 15 seats remained undecided. With these numbers, the PML-N lacks the majority needed to form a government, prompting Sharif to invite other parties and successful candidates to collaborate.
Independent candidates, despite their significant numbers, are unable to form a government alone. They can, however, form a coalition with any other party within three days following the election.
The PTI party has posted a video on social media, generated by artificial intelligence, claiming that candidates loyal to the party have won the election. Khan, in a video using AI-generated speech and real footage from a year ago, claimed that the party was on track to win 150 parliamentary seats before allegations of election fraud surfaced.
Commander Syed Asim Munir, in a statement provided by the military, urged for a peaceful resolution, stating that elections are not a win-or-lose game but a chance for the nation to move forward.
Khan is currently serving a prison sentence and has been banned from politics for ten years. The army’s backing of Sharif has added to concerns about potential election fraud.