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Imran Khan’s PTI calls for protest amid delay in Pakistan election result

‘We have no fear of independents going anywhere,’ aide says

Vishwam Sankaran
Saturday 10 February 2024 15:41 GMT
Related video: Pakistan Election 2024: Imran Khan claims PTI victory in AI speech

A senior member of Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-Insaf (PTI) called on supporters to peacefully protest if the final election results were not released by Saturday night.

Candidates linked to the former prime minister will attempt to form a government in Pakistan, according to Gohar Khan, a senior aide to the jailed politician.

The south Asian country conducted its parliamentary elections on Thursday.

While Mr Khan is in jail and his party has been barred from competing in the election, independent candidates, most backed by him, have won 100 seats – the majority in the election.

Of the 100 winning independent candidates, all but eight of them were backed by Khan’s party, according to the non-profit electoral watchdog Free and Fair Election Network.

Mr Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has won 71 seats with the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) winning 53, according to the Election Commission.

Both Mr Khan and Mr Sharif have claimed victory.

Pakistan Election 2024: Imran Khan and Nawaz Sharif both claim victory

The former cricketer-turned-politician’s close aide Zulfi Bukhari told Reuters that the party would announce a banner under which independents may join, expected to be within the next 24 hours.

“And we have no fear of independents going anywhere because these are the people who have struggled for the last 18 months and endured all kinds of torture and oppression,” Mr Bukhari said.

Meanwhile, Geo TV reported that Mr Sharif is forming a coalition with the PPP leader Bilawal Bhutto Zardari – the son of assassinated premier Benazir Bhutto – in hopes of governing the country together.

Pakistan’s army chief General Asim Munir said on Saturday the country needs “stable hands” and a “healing touch” to move on from the politics of “anarchy and polarisation”.

“Political leadership and their workers should rise above self-interests and synergise efforts in governing and serving the people which is perhaps the only way to make democracy functional and purposeful,” Gen Munir said.

With Pakistan struggling to recover from an economic crisis and continuing to battle militant violence, the army chief expressed hope for the elections to bring in political and economic stability.

“As the people of Pakistan have reposed their combined trust in the constitution of Pakistan, it is now incumbent upon all political parties to reciprocate the same with political maturity and unity,” he said.

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