Pakistan temporarily suspends mobile services across the country due to general elections
With Pakistan’s election results trickling in slower than usual, candidates backed by former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s party appeared to do better than expected as he was seen neck-and-neck with favorite Nawaz Sharif.
Preliminary election results normally come out within a few hours in Pakistan but were hit by major delays overnight, adding to existing fears of election manipulation.
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) had announced the results of only eight of the 265 contested seats in Parliament on its website this morning.
Mr Sharif’s PML-N has four seats, while members of Mr Khan’s PTI party, who ran as independents, won three seats, and Bilawal Bhutto Zardari’s Pakistan People’s Party got just one.
The Election Commission cited an unspecified ‘internet problem’ for the long delay of over 13 hours in counting of votes as the PTI party alleged that the ‘overwhelming mandate of the people of Pakistan is being stolen’.
Polling stations opened from 8am to 5pm yesterday for more than 128 million registered voters, amid a blackout of mobile network and data services and accusations of rigging and unfair terms for members of Mr Khan’s party.
Poll-related violence and terrorist attacks killed at least 40 people in a series of incidents over the course of Wednesday and Thursday.
Each party needs 133 seats in parliament for a simple majority, but many analysts believe the vote may not produce a clear winner.
Human Rights Council of Pakistan says delays in results are ‘violation of human rights’
The Lahore-based Human Rights Council of Pakistan said the delays in counting indicate an attempt is being made to “alter the results against the views of citizens.”
It is “a violation of basic human rights,” the report said, adding that the election commission is not announcing the full results.
“There are fears that the candidates who were winning by large margins till last night, the results of all these seats were withheld and all polling agents were forced out of the offices of ROs (Returning Officers),” it added.
Shweta SharmaFebruary 9, 2024 05:10
PTI candidates are leading with 5 seats, leaving Nawaz Sharif’s party behind
Pakistan’s Election Council has declared the results of 14 parliamentary assembly seats and Imran Khan’s PTI party candidates are now in the lead with five seats.
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari’s Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Nawaz Sharif’s PML-N are tied with four seats each.
- 5 – PTI candidates
- 4 – PPP
- 4 – PML-N
Shweta SharmaFebruary 9, 2024 04:42
In pictures: Pakistanis awaiting results hit by delays
Shweta SharmaFebruary 9, 2024 04:20
The UN chief urged the results to refrain from using force
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has expressed concern about violence in Pakistan and the suspension of mobile communications services on election day in the South Asian country, his spokesman said in an emailed statement.
“As Pakistan awaits the outcome of the elections, the Secretary General encourages all political leaders and societal segments to maintain a calm atmosphere and refrain from the use of force and from any actions that could increase tensions” , said US spokesman Stephane Dujarric. .
“It is important for all candidates and supporters to ensure that human rights and the rule of law are fully respected in the interests of the Pakistani people and to resolve any disputes that may arise through established legal processes,” the spokesperson added to it.
Internet and phone services were cut in Pakistan as people cast their votes.
Earlier this week, the UN human rights office denounced violence against political parties and candidates ahead of Thursday’s vote.
It expressed particular concern over the “pattern of intimidation, arrests and prolonged detention of leaders and supporters” of Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek e Insaf (PTI) party.
Shweta SharmaFebruary 9, 2024 04:15
Vote counting is hit by delays as opposition political parties raise concerns
The counting of votes in Pakistan has now been delayed by more than thirteen hours as political parties waited for the outcome of the high-stakes elections.
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) said “internet issues” were holding up the process.
In Pakistan, voting is still done by ballot paper and voters mark their choice by placing a check mark or thumb stamp next to the name and symbol of their preferred candidate.
After voting, the ballots are counted manually.
Shweta SharmaFebruary 9, 2024 04:02
ICYMI: What you need to know about candidates, key issues and what this election means for the country
Pakistan’s 127 million voters can elect a new parliament today. The elections are the twelfth in the country’s 76-year history, which has been marred by economic crises, military takeovers and martial law, militancy, political upheavals and wars with India.
Forty-four political parties are vying for a share of the 266 seats up for grabs in the National Assembly, or lower house of parliament, with another 70 seats reserved for women and minorities.
Matt MathersFebruary 9, 2024 4:00 am
ICYMI: Google Doodle marks the 2024 national elections in Pakistan
Matt MathersFebruary 9, 2024 03:30
Nawaz Sharif and Imran Khan’s PTI neck-and-neck as results trickle in
As results are announced for 265 seats in the National Assembly, jailed Prime Minister Imran Khan’s candidates have secured a shock victory “by a landslide” – although it is too early to confirm either way.
Three-time Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) party, which was widely expected to win, has won four seats so far.
The Pakistan People’s Party of Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, the son of assassinated Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, picked up just one seat and PTI’s candidates – who were forced to run as independents – won the other three.
The PTI party said, “Every independent result showed that PTI won by a landslide.” But it denounced the delays and said attempts were being made to steal the election.
Shweta SharmaFebruary 9, 2024 03:28
ICYMI: Taliban ‘controls polling stations’ in northwest Pakistan, party leader claims
The Taliban fighters have been spotted in North Waziristan, northwestern Pakistan, where a local party leader has said they are making threats against locals and the polling station.
“Militants have made threats against the local population and the polling station. Three of our women polling officers narrowly escaped attacks at the polling station of Government Middle School Wresham Jan Kot, GHS Tappi and GPS Awal Khan Kot on the morning of election day on February 8,” said Mohsin Dawar, Central Chairman of National Democratic Movement.
“The Taliban in the area have taken control of the polling stations. I had written a letter to the concerned DRO regarding the security situation in Tappi, but my letter was ignored,” he wrote in a letter to the Election Commission of Pakistan.
He added that the region has been facing a tense security situation for months, including an attack on him.
Matt MathersFebruary 9, 2024 3:00 am
Imran Khan watched TV and read the newspaper on election day, his lawyers say
Imran Khan, the main rival of two leading candidates in Pakistan’s elections, is only allowed to watch state broadcaster PTV in prison and is given one newspaper a day, the English-language daily Dawn.
He planned to watch TV and read the newspaper on election day, his party said, and his lawyers will inform him if they get a chance to see him. Political analyst Azim Chaudhry called the way Khan’s party was treated as “pre-election manipulation.”
“The whole election process seems to be a coronation,” he said.
Matt MathersFebruary 9, 2024 02:30