Above photo: PTI supporters cheer outside a vote counting center in Wazirabad, Punjab, which declared results in favor of PTI-backed independents, after being faced with massive protests. Naya Pakistan.
The Pakistan Tehreek e-Insaf had alleged persecution by the army and the ruling elite in the run up to the elections.
With Khan jailed and barred from contesting and the party denied its electoral symbol.
As per the early results announced by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Friday, January 9, candidates supported by jailed former prime minister Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek e-Insaf (PTI) were leading in a large number of constituencies in the National Assembly.
PTI claimed their candidates have won a majority of the seats and alleged ECP of attempting to rig the election after a delay in the publication of the final results.
The final results were expected to be announced hours after the voting was over on Thursday evening. However, the final results were not declared even at 10 pm, Friday. So far results of only 220 seats were announced as per the local media reports.
According to the official results for 226 seats announced until 10 PM on Friday, PTI backed independent candidates had won 92 seats, Al-Jazeera reported.
Pakistan Muslim League (N), led by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, won 64, and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) had 50 seats. Others had won 20 seats.
The ECP did not publish data about the official turnout on Thursday as well. However, it is expected to be much higher than the previous election in 2018 when it was just over 50%. There were over 128 million eligible voters in the country.
The elections for Pakistan’s National Assembly and four provincial assemblies were held on Thursday amid controversies over denial of electoral symbol to PTI, forcing its candidates to contest the elections as independents, and disqualification of Khan from holding any public post for next ten years.
PTI Claims Majority
On Friday, PTI’s official X (formerly Twitter) handle claimed that their supported candidates have won in 154 out of 255 contested seats.
There are 336 seats in Pakistan’s National Assembly out of which 266 are popularly contested. The 60 seats reserved for women and 10 reserved for minorities are distributed to the parties as per the number of seats they have won in popular elections.
Though the majority mark in the election is 134, seats no party or coalition will be able to form the government until they get 168 seats.
Since PTI is not contesting as a party, it will not be eligible for any share in the 70 reserved seats.
“According to independent reports, PTI has won well over 150 National Assembly seats & is in a solid position to form government in Federal, Punjab & KP [Khyber Pakhtunkhwa] with a clear majority,” PTI claimed however alleging that “manipulation of the results in the late hours of the night is an utter disgrace & a brazen theft of the nation’s mandate.”
PTI candidates were reportedly staging protests in front of returning officials (RO) responsible for counting and declaring the results in several constituencies for alleged fraud and manipulation by local media.
The allegations of rigging in the results were made by several other individuals including Mustafa Nawaz Khokar, former member of the National Assembly contesting as an independent this time from Islamabad.
The lead in early trends in the election results for PTI confirms the public opinion surveys conducted in the run up to the elections. Most of them had confirmed the widespread popularity of Khan and his party.
Several people claimed in their social media posts that the results so far indicate the anger of the common Pakistanis against the army’s intervention in the country’s politics. PTI’s consistent campaign regarding alleged unfair means with which Khan was removed from power and sent to jail also got widespread popular support as shown by polls before the election.
The elections were held amidst the widespread anger among people against the last government led by the PML (N) and PPP for their failure to curb the prices of the basic commodities and to address the economic problems faced by the majority of Pakistanis.