PML-N asserted victory on technical grounds, citing PTI’s disqualification from participating in elections for not complying with electoral laws. All PTI candidates contested as independents.
Khan’s close aide and media adviser Zulfi Bukhari told Reuters they would announce within Sunday a party banner for independents to join. In Pakistan, independent candidates cannot form a govt on their own and need to join a party. Independents are also not eligible to be allocated reserved seats, 70 of which are meant to be distributed according to the party’s strength. Sharif’s party could get up to 20 of these seats.
Sharif initiated post-election campaigns by reaching out to PPP and smaller groups for a unity govt. However, it remains uncertain pending court rulings on alleged vote manipulation. Many PTI candidates have approached electoral watchdog and high courts in Lahore and Islamabad in a bid to reclaim victory.
International community, including the US, UK, and European Union, have demanded an investigation into claims of election malpractices made by Khan’s party. British foreign minister David Cameron’s statement noted “serious concerns raised about fairness and lack of inclusivity of the elections”. Pakistan’s foreign office said these statements ignore an undeniable fact that Pakistan held general elections, peacefully and successfully, while dealing with serious security threats.
Amid widespread circulation of videos of alleged poll rigging on X, authorities suspended the service again Saturday. “After closing mobile services in Pakistan during election day, they have now blocked X in Pakistan because PTI was exposing the rigging!!” Khan’s party alleged.
Voters had also cast ballots for their representatives in four provincial assemblies.
In Punjab, most populous province of Pakistan, PML-N is in lead, while independent candidates are comfortably ahead in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. In Sindh province, PPP has won a majority, while in Balochistan, country’s largest province in terms of land, a coalition govt is expected as no party has seats required for a simple majority.