Pakistan : Imran Khan allies lead vote count final stage of the elections
As the vote count reached its final stages in Pakistan's recent election, supporters of imprisoned former Prime Minister Imran Khan gained ground on the two dynastic parties thought to be military favorites.
Khan himself was disqualified from running, and his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party faced severe restrictions, including being barred from holding rallies and removed from the ballot, forcing its candidates to run as independents.
Despite these challenges, the latest results from the slow tallying process showed that PTI loyalists had secured approximately 70 seats out of the over 200 declared for the 266-member national assembly. The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) had secured around 60 seats, while the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) had won approximately 40 by nightfall on Friday.
Most of the seats won by PTI-backed candidates were in their stronghold of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, while results were still pending for Punjab, where the PML-N has historically held influence.
Unofficial tallies broadcast on local television stations suggested that independents were leading in many of the remaining seats.
Independents can affiliate with any party within 72 hours of winning, a practice common in Pakistani politics that often leads to negotiations and compromises, potentially jeopardizing PTI's success.
The election witnessed instances of violence, particularly in border regions adjacent to Afghanistan, with 61 reported attacks nationwide, according to the interior ministry. At least 16 fatalities, including 10 security personnel, and 54 injuries were reported.
Over 650,000 army, paramilitary, and police personnel were deployed to ensure security.
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) attributed the delay in results to a government-imposed mobile network shutdown during voting. However, this delay fueled allegations of ballot tampering.
In Peshawar, around 2,000 PTI supporters staged a protest, demanding justice and alleging electoral irregularities.