Independent candidates backed by Imran Khan’s party lead in 125 seats in early trends – India TV

Independent candidates backed by Imran Khan’s party lead in 125 seats in early trends – India TV

Pakistan elections 2024, early trends, Imran Khan PTI
Image Source : AP Votes being counted in Pakistan after the conclusion of polling.

Pakistan elections 2024: In an unprecedented display, early trends in Pakistan’s general elections showed incarcerated former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-backed independent candidates leading in 125 seats, while rival Nawaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) was seen leading in only 44 seats, as counting was underway after polling concluded at 5 pm.

Taking to X, Imran shared a picture of a Pakistani media channel showing early trends, with the PTI-backed independents at the top with a lead in 125 seats, PML-N in 44 and Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari’s Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) in only 28 seats. This may indicate that people are backing independent candidates from Imran Khan’s party.

“Despite every possible method employed to undermine the will of the people, our people have spoken via #MassiveTurnout for vote today. As we have repeatedly stated, “no force can defeat an idea whose time has come.” It is now critical to guard the vote by getting Form 45,” said Imran on X.

Military-backed crackdown on PTI

Imran remains behind bars and banned from running after a series of convictions, including some just days before the vote. Khan was ousted from power in a no-confidence vote in April 2022 and now has more than 150 legal cases hanging over him. His supporters believe the charges were engineered by the military to hound his party out of existence.

He has been sentenced to three, 10, 14, and seven years, to be served concurrently. His legal convictions have barred him from contesting the elections but his party is running and he still has a mass grassroots following. Meanwhile, his party is reeling under a military-backed crackdown, with several candidates and workers imprisoned and being stripped of its electoral system weeks before the elections, forcing candidates to run as independents.

Meanwhile, Nawaz Sharif was tipped to be the winner of this year’s elections after returning from a four-year self-imposed exile in London and having all previous convictions against him removed. The only other real contender is the Pakistan People’s Party. It has a power base in the south and is led by a rising star in national politics — Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, the son of assassinated former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. The Sharifs and Bhutto-Zardari are traditional rivals but have joined forces against Imran. Bilawal is unlikely to secure the premiership on his own, but he could be part of a Nawaz-led coalition.

Voting in Pakistan

Voting concluded across Pakistan on Thursday in the parliamentary elections marked by claims of rigging, several delays and sporadic violence after the government imposed a temporary shutdown of mobile and internet services to maintain peace. The polling began at 8 am and continued till 5 pm, although there were delays in some constituencies as parties claimed irregularities.

There were reports of the voting process facing delays at certain polling stations across the country and at least one terror attack on security forces performing election duties that killed five policemen in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Dera Ismail Khan. The ballot boxes would be unsealed in the presence of the agents of various candidates inside the polling stations, and counting would be done under the supervision of the presiding officer of each polling station.

PTI workers alleged irregularities in several polling stations, including voters being stopped from entering, absence of staff and shortage of ballot papers. 

ALSO READ | Pakistan elections 2024: Voting concludes amid claims of rigging, delays and sporadic violence

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Author: Shirley