Pakistan election results: There are allegations the military secretly backed Imran Khan's campaign
Islamabad: Former Pakistani cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan inched closer to power today with the results of the country's general election showing a massive lead by his party, even though the party of his jailed rival Nawaz Sharif rejected the eventual result as "blatantly" rigged. The Pakistani Election Commission rubbished the charges, and blamed a delay in the results on technical failures. Mr Khan's camp was increasingly confident, but it still appeared likely to fall short of a clear majority in the National Assembly. Voting for the elections - the only second democratic transition of power in its coup-studded history - took place on Wednesday.
Here is your 10-point cheatsheet to Pakistan general election 2018:
- With just 30 per cent of the total vote counted, the Election Commission of Pakistan had Mr Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) party massively leading in 119 of 272 National Assembly constituencies.
- Mr Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) was ahead in 61 constituencies, and the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), led by the son of assassinated two-time prime minister Benazir Bhutto, led in 40 constituencies.
- An official at the Election Commission said early on Thursday that final results had been delayed by technical failures. "There's no conspiracy, nor any pressure in delay of the results. The delay is being caused because the result transmission system has collapsed," secretary Babar Yaqoob told reporters.
- Mr Khan's camp was increasingly confident of winning the election, although it still appeared likely to fall short of the 137 seats needed for a majority in the National Assembly, raising the prospect it would need to find coalition partners among smaller parties and independents. The party's supporters took to the streets to celebrate the lead.
- Mr Sharif's brother Shehbaz, who now leads the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), rejected the count of the Pakistan election results after complaints that soldiers stationed in polling stations had thrown out political parties' monitors during the tabulations.
- "It is a sheer rigging. The way the people's mandate has blatantly been insulted, it is intolerable," Shehbaz Sharif told a news conference as the counting continued. "We totally reject this result... It is a big shock to Pakistan's democratic process," he said.
- Elections in Pakistan took place this time under the allegations of manipulation by the army and concerns over participation of terrorist and radical groups. The race was mostly a two-way one, between former cricketer Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and jailed former prime minister Nawaz Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz.
- More than 30 political parties fielded candidates for the elections to the 272 seats of the lower house of parliament, the National Assembly; 8,396 candidates are running for 577 seats in four provincial assemblies -- Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. Nearly 10.6 crore people are registered to vote.
- An unprecedented 460 candidates from terrorist and radical groups are in fray, which has raised concerns in India. The leading among them are candidates from Mumbai-terror attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed-led banned outfit Jamat-ud Dawa. Saeed's son and son-in-law are contesting the elections.
- Hours after polling began, a ISIS suicide bomber blew himself up outside a polling station in Bhosa Mandi area of Balochistan's provincial capital, Quetta, killing 31 people, including policemen.
(With inputs from Reuters)