Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), headed by cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan, tipped for victory, a day after Pakistan voted for its second consecutive democratic transfer of power.
As PTI workers from across the country celebrated the results, the outgoing Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) flatly rejected the suggested outcome, citing “outright rigging” and accusing officials of preventing its representatives from overseeing the count.
Election Commission of Pakistan denied the claims, saying a new electronic results system suffered unexpected glitches leading to a delay in the formal vote count. Despite the technical issues, “these elections were 100 per cent fair and transparent”, said Chief Election Commissioner Sardar Muhammad Raza earlier today, in his first comments after polls closed.
Millions of Pakistanis stepped out to cast their ballot in Wednesday’s cliffhanger election, including women in areas where they previously stood disenfranchised.
Polling began at 8AM across the country’s 85,307 polling stations and continued until 6PM, despite calls by several major parties, including PML-N, PPP and PTI, to extend the polling time by an hour.
The parties had complained of “a slow voting process” and thus sought more time to facilitate voters — a request that was dismissed by the ECP.
The election campaign was marred by violence with three candidates killed in targetted attacks in the run-up to the polls, and culminated with a suicide blast outside a polling station in Quetta which claimed at least 31 lives.
As many as 12,570 candidates contested for a total of 849 seats of national and provincial assemblies in the country’s 11th General Election.