Expert Analysis: Imran Khan Gains Public Endorsement in Pakistan’s Election Results

On Sunday, the Election Commission of Pakistan disclosed the undecided results of the 2024 general elections, pointing out a divided National Assembly where no political party achieved a clear majority. Independent candidates, often supported by Imran Khan, secured 101 seats, whereas the Muslim League-N and the People’s Party acquired 75 and 54 seats, respectively.

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, under the leadership of Imran Khan, immediately challenged the election results, urging the chief election commissioner’s resignation. PTI spokesperson Rauf Hassan criticized the Election Commission for allowing what he termed as a “blatant theft of democracy.” Despite PTI’s rejection of the outcomes, interim chairman Barrister Gohar Ali Khan emphasized the party’s substantial seat count and its determination to establish a government in crucial provinces.

Shafqat Ali Kiyani, an expert on parliamentary affairs based in Rawalpindi, informed The Media Line, “Due to the removal of PTI’s electoral symbol by the Election Commission and subsequently by the Supreme Court of Pakistan, the party was delisted from the Election Commission’s roster of political parties. Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf will undoubtedly not be acknowledged as a parliamentary party, necessitating the elected independent candidates supported by PTI to form their own group regardless.”

As per Kiyani, this occurrence marks not the first time in Pakistan’s political history that the sword symbol was withdrawn from the Pakistan People’s Party. In the past, they responded by establishing a group known as People’s Party Parliamentarians, which remains in existence. Consequently, the independently elected candidates supported by PTI must establish a distinct group.

According to regulations, independent members are obligated to join any political party within three days of receiving the notification of success.

“The ongoing political uncertainty is likely to resolve in the coming days, yet given the public’s endorsement of Imran Khan, Pakistan’s influential establishment should heed the prevailing sentiments,” Kiyani stressed in his communication with The Media Line.

Election Process Was Not Peaceful Completely

Additionally, on Friday, at least two individuals were reportedly killed, and 11 sustained injuries during clashes between PTI workers and the police in the Shangla district of northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. The confrontation emerged as a protest against alleged manipulation of election results.

Irfan Babak, a human rights lawyer based in Swat and an independent observer, informed The Media Line that violent protests erupted when supporters of Syed Fareen, an independent candidate backed by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party, took to the streets following the Election Commission of Pakistan’s declaration of Ameer Maqam as the winner of the general elections on Thursday.

Babak further elaborated that “prior to the Election Commission’s announcement, TV channels had declared Syed Fareen, the candidate supported by Imran Khan, as the leading contender. However, [allegedly] the results were tampered with, and Ameer Maqam was declared the winner.”

In other locations, accusations of election manipulation surfaced, with candidates asserting that poll officials tampered with the results, raising concerns about the credibility of a fair and free electoral process. These allegations of electoral interference, violence, and human rights constraints have garnered global attention, prompting Pakistani authorities to conduct comprehensive investigations to uphold democratic norms and ensure the integrity of the electoral process.

Similarly, the European Union, through foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, expressed regret over allegations of significant interference in the electoral process, including the arrests of political activists!

The United Kingdom, represented by Foreign Secretary Lord David Cameron, also voiced concerns regarding the fairness and inclusivity of the elections. The UK’s statement highlighted issues such as the prevention of some political parties and leaders from participating in the elections, restrictions on internet access, substantial delays in result reporting, and claims of irregularities in the counting process.

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