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Pakistan's Imran Khan Leads In National Elections, As Rivals Allege Rigging

26 July, 2018, 18:29 | Author: Ted Wilson
  • Elections 2018       by Muhammad Irfan | Published

A suicide bomber targeted a crowding polling station in the southwestern city of Quetta, killing 31 people. Let us have a look at the life and political career of the bold cricketer-turned-politician, Imran Khan, who campaigned immensely on the creation of "new Pakistan".

Khan's rival, the ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, called the early vote count an assault on democracy. As Mike Armstrong explains, the election results could have wider repercussions for the region.

Pakistanis began voting in a historic third straight election ending a campaign marred by widespread allegations of manipulation that local and worldwide rights group say imperils the country's wobbly transition to democratic rule.

Pakistan Peoples Party co-chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zadari, 29, expressed similar concerns on Twitter.

Nearly 106 million voters were eligible to cast ballots for the 342-member National Assembly, or the lower house of parliament, and assemblies in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab, Sindh, and Balochistan provinces.

But Yaqoob said the vote-counting system, which he said was untested, had "crashed", adding: "There is definitely no conspiracy, no one wants to influence the results".

Pakistan's next leader will urgently need to deal with a mounting economic crisis: four currency devaluations since December have made it likely the next government will seek another International Monetary Fund bailout.

Nearest rival, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), has won 64 seats.

The military has stationed over 370,000 personnel across Pakistan to ensure security for the election, bolstered by an additional 450,000 police.

31 people dead after Pakistan polling station explosion
More than 19 million new voters, including millions of women and young people, may prove decisive in the close race. The campaign has been surrounded by concerns the military had been meddling in the election to favour Mr Khan.

The military deployed some 350,000 troops to secure the country's 85,000 polling stations.

"This is the most dirty election in Pakistan's history", Mushahid Hussain, a PML-N leader, said at a press conference in Lahore.

Though the results are yet to be declared officially, PTI is expected to win over 100 seats while Nawaz Sharif's PML-N is likely to take 63 seats emerging as the second largest party in the country.

While opponents have alleged "blatant" rigging of the election, the Chief Election Commissioner allayed such speculations by attributing the delay to a new system- Results Transmission System - introduced by it. Radical Islamic terrorist group Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) claimed responsibility for the deadly blast, according to the group's propaganda outlet, the Amaq News Agency.

The PPP managed to maintain its stronghold in the Sindh Assembly and should lead the provincial government.

Election authorities granted military officers broad powers inside polling centres which further stirred fears of manipulation.

The build-up to the elections was marred by allegations that the all-powerful army was trying to manipulate the process and install a PTI-led government.

Wednesday's vote was meant to be a rare democratic transition of power in the populous but poor nuclear-armed Muslim country, which has been ruled by the armed forces for roughly half its history. Sharif has clashed repeatedly with the military over the years and was jailed this month on corruption charges, which he is appealing.

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