New Delhi: The national election vote count in Pakistan concluded on Sunday, revealing that independents, largely supported by imprisoned former Prime Minister Imran Khan, secured 101 out of 264 seats, according to the election commission’s website.
Following the release of the final tally, which came more than 60 hours after voting ended, concerns arose regarding the process’s transparency and efficiency, reported Reuters.
Imran Khan’s independents surpassed the party of another former prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, who won 75 seats. Sharif’s party is now engaging in discussions with other groups to potentially form a coalition government, given its failure to secure a clear majority.
As per Reuters, Imran Khan’s PTI party had threatened peaceful nationwide protests if the vote tally wasn’t released overnight. Despite some smaller protests occurring overnight, the PTI party secretary later called off general protests but suggested demonstrations at specific electoral offices where concerns regarding “forged” results persisted.
Notably, approximately 93 of the independent candidates who secured seats were affiliated with Imran Khan‘s PTI party. They ran as independents due to being barred from contesting under the PTI party’s electoral symbol, following the election commission’s decision due to non-compliance with electoral laws.
One disadvantage the independents face in trying to form a government is they are not eligible to be allocated any of parliament’s 70 reserved seats, which are distributed according to party strength in the final tally. Sharif’s party could get up to 20 of these seats.
The interim government attributed the delay in releasing the vote count to communication issues resulting from a mobile internet outage on election day, which was enforced for security reasons. This outage drew criticism from rights groups and foreign governments, including the United States, the PTI report added.
The election commission previously flagged that results for two seats could not yet be included – one in which a candidate was killed requiring the postponement of polling, and another in which polling would be completed later this month.