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As it happenedended1707622496

Pakistan election – live: Imran Khan’s PTI calls for protest amid concerns of fraud in inconclusive polls

UK, UK and EU express concern about Pakistan’s electoral process as former prime ministers Nawaz Sharif and Imran Khan both claim victory

Imran Khan claimed victory in a video

Candidates backed by former Pakistani premier Imran Khan’s party plan to form a government, a senior aide to the jailed politician said on Saturday, calling on supporters to peacefully protest if final election results were not released.

The US Department, UK, and the European Union expressed serious concerns about the fairness of the Pakistan parliamentary elections as former prime ministers Nawaz Sharif and Imran Khan both claimed victory with no clear result in sight.

UK foreign minister David Cameron raised concerns about the “fairness and lack of inclusivity” of the elections. The US State Department called for an investigation into “claims of election interference or fraud in Pakistan”.

Sharif supporters celebrate (EPA)

Independent candidates backed by Mr Khan won the most seats in the National Assembly, despite his being in jail and his party being barred from the polls.

Mr Sharif said he would seek to form a coalition government after his party trailed the independents. Any party needs 133 seats in parliament for a simple majority.

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UK foreign minister expresses 'serious concerns' over 'fairness' of Pakistan elections

British foreign minister David Cameron said “serious concerns” have been raised about the “fairness and lack of inclusivity” of Pakistan’s parliamentary elections.

“Authorities must uphold fundamental human rights including free access to information and the rule of law,” Mr Cameron posted on X, applauding all voters.

“We regret that not all parties were formally permitted to contest the elections and that legal processes were used to prevent some political leaders from participation, and to prevent the use of recognisable party symbols,” he said in a statement.

The foreign minister also noted there were restrictions imposed on internet access on polling day, as well as delays to the reporting of results, and claims of irregularities in the counting process.

“The UK urges authorities in Pakistan to uphold fundamental human rights including free access to information, and the rule of law,” he said.

Vishwam Sankaran10 February 2024 03:45
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What is Imran Khan’s appeals process following two new major convictions?

Pakistan‘s former prime minister Imran Khan will take his long-drawn legal fight to the higher courts, his party says, after he was found guilty in two different cases just a week before the country’s general election.

Mr Khan and his wife, Bushra Bibi, were each awarded jail terms of 14 years last week for illegally selling gifts worth more than £395,000 from the state treasury, known as the “Toshakhana”, during his premiership. He was also barred from holding public office for 10 years and they were fined approximately £2.2m each.

The former cricket star-turned-politician was also handed another 10-year term a day earlier after being found guilty of revealing state secrets. He is already serving a three-year sentence for corruption.

What is Imran Khan’s appeals process following two new major convictions?

Khan to challenge convictions in higher court after ‘sham trials’

Shweta Sharma9 February 2024 09:00
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PML-N ‘in touch’ with successful independents, party claims

PML-N official Ishaq Dar has claimed that the party is in contact with those independents who are leading at the moment in the count.

“The independents have contacted us and they will join any party in the next 72 hours as per the Constitution,” the former finance minister told Geo News today as results continue to pour in.

He claimed that PML-N is being contacted by independents who are willing to join their party.

Dar said that the PML-N cannot force anyone to join the party, adding that they are being contacted by candidates who are willing to join their party.

He added: “If independents did not join any political party then they will lose reserved seats. The independents are not even close to PML-N’s success in Punjab.”

Maroosha Muzaffar9 February 2024 09:03
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PTI leader says won’t form coalition with PPP or PML-N

PTI chairman Gohar Ali Khan has said that the party will not form any alliance with any other party to form the government if PTI-backed independents win the election.

He told Geo News: “We do not have any contact with PPP or PML-N” and claimed that the PTI won’t need to form any alliance as it is confident of winning the required number of seats to form the majority.

Meanwhile, PML-N leader Ishaq Dar claimed that the independents currently leading the polls are in contact with the party.

Analyst Michael Kugelman wrote on X: “Even if the PTI were declared the winner, the situation would be tricky, because its candidates had to run as independents. It would need to ensure that these winning independents don’t align with other parties. The establishment would likely pressure them to do so.”

Maroosha Muzaffar9 February 2024 09:25
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Pakistan election credibility already marred by internet blackout and slow count amid anxious wait for results

“The elections have been anything but fair and credible,” columnist Mehr Tarar tells The Independent. “The situation here is bleak and the internet suspension is unprecedented as it did not happen during 2013 election when terrorism was at its peak.”

Read the full piece by Shweta Sharma here:

Pakistan election credibility already dented by internet blackout and delays

Analysis: With results slowly trickling in, analysts say the past two years of political turmoil show the Pakistani military’s grip on power is as tight as ever. Shweta Sharma reports

Maroosha Muzaffar9 February 2024 09:40
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Imran Khan ‘in no mood for reconciliation'

“I think that just because [Imran] Khan is in jail now does not mean that he’s done. His desire and capacity to reconcile with the military and his recent messages from his jail cell suggest he’s in no mood for reconciliation, but that may change,” Michael Kugelman, the Director of the South Asia Institute at the Wilson Center, tells The Independent.

“There could still be many more years of productive politics for him,” Kugelman adds.

Meanwhile, candidates backed by PTI appear to be doing far better than expected in Pakistan’s election count, according to projections, maintaining a significant lead ahead of the party of favourite Nawaz Sharif.

Maroosha Muzaffar9 February 2024 09:55
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Imran Khan’s demise has been swift and brutal – but it would be a mistake to write him off

Just a few years ago the former cricketer had successfully conquered Pakistan’s tumultuous political landscape – now he’s facing 14 years behind bars. Yet all is not lost for the man who once made even the country’s feared military fall into line, writes Omar Waraich:

Imran Khan’s demise has been swift and brutal – but it’s a mistake to write him off

Just a few years ago the former cricketer had successfully conquered Pakistan’s tumultuous political landscape – now he’s facing 14 years behind bars. Yet all is not lost for the man who once made even the country’s feared military fall into line, writes Omar Waraich

Maroosha Muzaffar9 February 2024 10:10
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Curfew imposed in capital Islamabad

Islamabad police say they are enforcing Section 144 orders banning public gatherings in the Pakistan capital as election results keep trickling in.

The police wrote on X: “In case of any illegal action, action will be taken. Respect for the law is mandatory for everyone. Legal action will be taken in case of any disturbance.”

When in force, a Section 144 order prohibits gatherings of four or more people. This section of the Criminal Procedure Code of Pakistan also empowers the district government to issue orders and/or ban any activity for a specific time in any region.

Police say the move is aimed at maintaining law and order once the results are out.

Maroosha Muzaffar9 February 2024 10:25
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ICYMI: Google Doodle marks Pakistan’s 2024 national elections

8 February’s Google Doodle depicts a ballot box with the Pakistan flag with a vote being posted for the next parliament:

Read the full article here:

Google Doodle marks Pakistan’s 2024 national elections

8 February’s Google Doodle depicts a ballot box with the Pakistan flag with a vote being posted for the next parliament

Maroosha Muzaffar9 February 2024 10:50
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Winning party has a ‘rocky road ahead’

As candidates backed by former prime minister Imran Khan’s party have taken a shocking lead, Maya Tudor, associate professor at the Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford believes a win for PTI-backed candidates would be remarkable.

“A win would be remarkable. The odds were stacked against Khan. The military used every tool in the toolbox to weaken the power of the PTI party, from banning their cricket bat symbol to an internet blackout on voting day,” she was quoted as saying by Al Jazeera.

“But even if PTI-backed candidates can win, the road ahead is rocky. A shaky economy, conflict on almost every border, and soaring inflation, which is being felt everyday by ordinary Pakistanis.

“If there is no clear winner, the uncertainty will add to these woes.”

Maroosha Muzaffar9 February 2024 11:00

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