Imran Khan claimed victory in a video
The US and the UK 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 results in sight.
The US Department of State, the UK, and the European Union separately expressed concerns about Pakistan’s electoral process.
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”.
Several US parliamentarians also echoed statements by the Department of State urging for a probe into the electoral process.
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.
Pakistan’s army chief Gen Asim Munir said the country needs “stable hands” and a “healing touch” to move on from the politics of “anarchy and polarisation.”
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
Now Imran Khan claims victory
Jailed former Prime Minister Imran Khan has claimed victory, hours after rival Nawaz Sharif did so.
In an audio-visual message created using artificial intelligence and shared on his social media account, Khan rejected Sharif’s earlier claim to victory.
Khan called on his supporters to celebrate a win that was achieved despite what he calls a crackdown on his party.
Independent candidates backed by Khan won the most seats in Thursday’s national election, despite his being in jail and his party barred from the polls.
Jane Dalton9 February 2024 19:27
Pakistan says mobile phone cuts were necessary on polling day
Hitting back at criticism by world leaders over the conduct of its parliamentary elections, Pakistan said its polls were conducted “peacefully and successfully.”
Pakistan’s foreign office said it was surprised by “the negative tone of some of these statements, which neither take into account the complexity of the electoral process nor acknowledge the free and enthusiastic exercise of the right to vote by tens of millions of Pakistanis”.
It said there was “no nationwide internet shutdown” and “only mobile services were suspended for the day to avoid terrorist incidents on polling day.”
Vishwam Sankaran10 February 2024 11:00
Former Pakistan national assembly member injured in firing
Mohsin Dawar, former parliament member and leader of the National Democratic Movement (NDM), has been taken to a hospital after he was injured in a firing incident in North Waziristan’s Miranshah.
Dawar’s party leader Bushra Gohar demanded an inquiry into the firing and “arrests of the culprits.”
“I also wanted to ask them to make arrangements for shifting Dawar and others critically injured to Peshawar,” she said.
Ex-human rights minister Shireen Mazari also posted on X that the incident was“totally condemnable“.
Vishwam Sankaran10 February 2024 10:24
US congressman accuses Pakistan military of ‘rigging’ election
American congressman Ro Khanna alleged that the Pakistani military has been “rigging” the country’s just-held general elections to “prop up” its candidate.
“There is huge news today out of Pakistan, the most consequential since the country’s founding in 1947. Here’s what’s going on. The military had supported the current prime minister, but most of the people in Pakistan voted for Imran Khan,” Mr Khanna said in a video shared on social media.
“The military basically has been raging, at least that’s the allegation, rigging the election results to be interfering to prop up their military candidate,” he said, adding that the US should not recognise an “illegitimate government” in Pakistan.
Vishwam Sankaran10 February 2024 09:50
Nawaz Sharif says he wants ‘better relation with neighbours’ after claiming ‘victory’
In a premature victory speech, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif said he hoped to have “better relations with neighbours” after forming the new government.
“God willing, we will have better relations with our neighbours,” Mr Sharif said, in what seemed to be an indirect message to India.
“Our agenda will be to have a better relationship with the world and our neighbours…,” he said.
Pakistan’s election commission hasn’t officially announced the results yet as both Mr Sharif and candidates backed by ex-prime minister Imran Khan have independently claimed victory.
Vishwam Sankaran10 February 2024 09:15
US senate committee condemns bombings during Pakistan elections
The US Senate foreign relations committee condemned bombings at campaign offices in Pakistan amid the country’s parliamentary elections.
“I condemn in the strongest terms the deadly bombings at election campaign offices in Balochistan and send my condolences to the victims and their families. These attacks must be investigated and the perpetrators need to be held accountable,” Senator Ben Cardin, chair of the committee, said in a statement.
“While I appreciate those in Pakistan who cast a vote in the electoral process this week, these long overdue elections were sadly overshadowed by actions that prevented the meaningful participation of all political parties and candidates,” he said.
Vishwam Sankaran10 February 2024 08:45
Imran Khan granted bail as coalition talks continue
An anti-terror court has granted Pakistan’s former prime minister Imran Khan and ex-foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi bail in multiple cases linked to the 9 May riots.
The Rawalpindi court said there was no reason to keep Mr Khan in custody as all accused in the cases have been granted bail.
Independent candidates linked to Mr Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party have come on top in the general elections despite several hurdles including the loss of their electoral symbol – a cricket bat – and the detention of the party’s key leaders.
However, no clear winner has emerged in the elections with both Mr Khan and the trailing candidate former prime minister Nawaz Sharif eyeing to form a coalition government.
Vishwam Sankaran10 February 2024 08:16
Success of elections an ‘undeniable fact,’ says Pakistan Foreign Office
Pakistan’s foreign office said it was “surprised by the negative tone” of some countries and organisations about the general elections.
“These statements ignore the undeniable fact that Pakistan has held general elections, peacefully and successfully, while dealing with serious security threats resulting primarily from foreign-sponsored terrorism,” the foreign office said in a statement.
“While we value constructive advice from our friends, making negative commentary even before the completion of electoral process is neither constructive nor objective,” it added.
Vishwam Sankaran10 February 2024 07:45
Protests as unofficial results celebrated by some candidates overturned
A wave of protests erupted in Pakistan’s Balochistan as the initial unofficial results, celebrated by some candidates as victories, were overturned the next day.
The previous “winning” candidates fell to second and third positions, as per official results declared in the province.
This led to nearly all major political parties – including the PPP and PML-N – staging sit-ins, Dawn reported.
Vishwam Sankaran10 February 2024 07:15