Last Updated: February 11, 2024, 10:39 IST

A portrait of the Imran Khan is seen amid flags of PTI and the religious and political party JI as supporters attend a joint protest demanding free and fair results of the elections in Karachi, February 10. (Reuters)

A portrait of the Imran Khan is seen amid flags of PTI and the religious and political party JI as supporters attend a joint protest demanding free and fair results of the elections in Karachi, February 10. (Reuters)

Pakistani election aftermath: Imran Khan’s party claims victory, calls for peaceful protest if results delayed. Meanwhile, army urges unity

The Pakistani courts were inundated with legal challenges on Saturday as candidates contested the provisional results in their constituencies, following an election marred by violence and allegations of rigging.

The majority of those filing such challenges were PTI-backed independents, who claim that their victories were allegedly turned into defeats, the Dawn newspaper reported. These court cases come as candidates backed by the jailed PTI leader Imran Khan plan to form a government. A petition has been submitted to the Supreme Court, urging elected independent candidates to join a political party within three days of the official notification of their victory.

Meanwhile, a bid to form a unity government is also underway on the PML-N front, after the three-time former prime minister Nawaz Sharif appealed to other political parties to join hands to pull cash-strapped Pakistan out of its current difficulties. Analysts argue that a coalition government is in the offing, as no single party has enough seats to form a government.

Read More:  Takeaways From Pakistan Election: Violence, Result Delays, Family Affairs, Rigging and More

Credibility of elections?

The nation of 241 million people voted on Thursday in a general election, as the country struggles to recover from an economic crisis and battles militant violence in a deeply polarised political environment. Springing a surprise, independents backed by Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party reportedly won the lion’s share of 102 seats in the National Assembly in the election.

The Free and Fair Election Network (Fafen) has underlined the delay in the preparation and announcement of preliminary election results, raising questions about the credibility of the election outcome. In its preliminary report, Fafen highlighted that the government’s suspension of cellular and internet services on election day, regardless of security reasons, undermined years of parliamentary efforts to reform the election results management process.

‘Won’t let slavery take hold’

Gohar Khan, the chairman of Khan’s PTI party who also acts as the former prime minister’s lawyer, called on “all institutions” in Pakistan to respect his party’s mandate. At a press conference, he said if complete results of the polls were not released by Saturday night, the party would hold peaceful protests on Sunday outside government offices returning election results around the country. President Alvi would invite the PTI to form the government as they had got a majority in the National Assembly, Gohar Khan claimed. He claimed that the PTI had won elections on 170 seats in the National Assembly. However, according to the official results, the party has got 100 seats.

Read More: ‘Healing Touch’: In Pak Army Chief’s Post-Poll Message, an Uncanny Similarity with Nawaz Sharif’s Speech

On Saturday, Pakistan’s army chief told feuding politicians to show “maturity and unity” after an election failed to produce a clear winner. The Pakistan military, reportedly backing Nawaz, looms large over the country’s political landscape, with generals having run the country for nearly half its history since partition from India in 1947. “Elections are not a zero-sum competition of winning and losing but an exercise to determine the mandate of the people,” Army Chief General Syed Asim Munir said in a statement released by the military.

“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. “The nation needs stable hands and a healing touch to move on from the politics of anarchy and polarisation which does not suit a progressive country of 250 million people.”

(With agency inputs)


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