Published: Thu, July 26, 2018
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

Pakistan's Khan leads in projected partial poll results as opponent cries foul

Pakistan's Khan leads in projected partial poll results as opponent cries foul

It appears likely that Tehreek-e-Insaf will fall short of the 137 seats needed to form a government, raising the prospect Mr Khan's party will have to find coalition partners. "Imran Khan will speak soon and give an outline of his strategy", he said.

However, final results have been delayed and opponents have alleged vote rigging.

With cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan set to become the next Pakistan Prime Minister, his former wife Jemima Goldsmith on Thursday hailed his poll victory as "an incredible lesson in tenacity".

Counting of votes are still underway for the general election amid allegations of poll-rigging and manipulation (both PTI and the Election Commission of Pakistan have rejected these claims, terming the elections free and fair).

To form a majority government outright, the contest's victor would need to snatch 137 seats. Pakistan's benchmark stock index rose as much as 1.9 percent, poised for the highest since June 21.

"Past history suggests those daring enough to try and chart a more independent course or assert some degree of civilian control over the military are quickly discarded and emasculated by Rawalpindi, which inevitably finds a new political host to co-opt", Smith said. "The people of Pakistan will not accept that", Hussain charged without naming the PTI. The country has been ruled on and off by the military up until then. Khan has long criticized the US for drone strikes in Pakistan, taken a hard line against India and expressed support for China's $60 billion infrastructure program.

A wild card in the election was the unexpected proliferation of candidates - more than 600 in total - from religious parties. "Someone is being installed, someone is being removed". "Pakistan has suffered today", he told journalists at a press conference.

Supporters of cricket star-turned-politician Imran Khan chairman of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf waves
Image A supporter of Imran Khan in Pakistan

Over four lakh security personnel have been deployed at polling stations across the country to maintain law and order and take action against harassment, after the nation witnessed one of the bloodiest campaigning, inlcuding the July 13 bombing that killed 150 people.

But Yaqoob said the vote-counting system, which he said was untested, had "crashed", adding: "There is definitely no conspiracy, no one wants to influence the results".

Khan's position on the US is far more hawkish than former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, noted Moeed Yusuf, from US Institute of Peace.

Sharif, 68, was removed by presidential decree in 1993, in a military coup in 1999, and a year ago by the Supreme Court, which ordered his corruption trial.

A hospital official said an explosion outside a crowded polling station in the southwestern city of Quetta killed 31 people and wounded 35 more on Wednesday, as Pakistanis voted in general elections. Still, it was the allegations against rigging that may impact Khan's ability to form a government.

An anti-corruption crusader, Mr Khan has promised an "Islamic welfare state" and cast his populist campaign as a battle to topple a predatory political elite hindering development in the impoverished mostly Muslim nation of 208 million people, where the illiteracy rate is more than 40 per cent.

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