Fri, Jul 27, 2018 - Page 6 News List

Imran Khan claims victory in election

PAKISTAN IN CHAOS:An unprecedented delay in counting votes, along with a surprisingly strong lead for Khan, have fueled fears over the legitimacy of the poll


Supporters of Pakistani cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan on Wednesday celebrate winning the general election in Islamabad.

Photo: AFP

Pakistani cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan yesterday claimed victory in the nation’s tense general election, following accusations of “blatant” vote-rigging by rival parties.

There was no official confirmation of results from Pakistan’s election commission almost 24 hours after polls closed in Wednesday’s vote, but partial, unofficial tallies showed Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party enjoying a clear lead.

“We were successful and we were given a mandate,” Khan, 65, said during a live broadcast, adding that there was “no politician victimization” in the acrimonious contest.

He went on to call the elections the “most transparent” in the nation’s history.

During the broadcast, Khan vowed to tackle corruption that was “eating our country like a cancer.”

He also touched on promises to balance relations with the US that would be “beneficial” for both nations.

Khan’s statement came several hours after his supporters took to the streets to celebrate winning an election that opponents have said the military rigged in his favor.

The unprecedented delay in counting votes, along with a surprisingly strong lead for Khan, have fueled widespread fears over the legitimacy of the poll.

Newspapers and television channels have been predicting a victory for the PTI since late on Wednesday evening.

By yesterday partial, unofficial results gave him at least 100 seats so far in the National Assembly, the lower house.

A majority of 137 seats is needed to form a government.

Khan’s first wife, British film producer Jemima Goldsmith, tweeted her congratulations.

“Twenty-two years later, after humiliations, hurdles and sacrifices, my sons’ father is Pakistan’s next PM,” she wrote.

The Election Commission of Pakistan dismissed allegations of manipulation, blaming the delay on glitches in new, untested counting software.

“These elections were 100 percent fair and transparent,” Chief Election Commissioner Sardar Muhammad Raza said early yesterday as the outcry grew.

Election authorities had not confirmed when they expected to announce the results.

Some reports suggested it would not be until late yesterday at the earliest.

Election observers including a mission from the EU are due to give their own observations on the voting process today.

The military, which had been accused of seeking to manipulate the vote in Khan’s favor in the months leading up to the election had not commented on the situation.

It and Khan have previously denied allegations of intervention.

Late on Wednesday, the once-mighty Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), which had been in power since 2013, rejected the results because of “outright rigging,” vowing that it would use “all political and legal options for redressal of these glaring excesses.”

“What they have done has pushed Pakistan back 30 years... People will not bear it,” said PML-N leader Shahbaz Sharif, the brother of jailed former Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif.

“This is complete chaos,” said political analyst Azeema Cheema, adding that she was “very concerned” about what comes next.

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