Published: Thu, July 26, 2018
Sports | By Brandy Patterson

Pakistan's Imran Khan leads as election results delayed, opponents cry foul

Pakistan's Imran Khan leads as election results delayed, opponents cry foul

Results will trickle in after polling ends, with the outcome expected early on Thursday, according to election officials.

The battle is set to come down to three parties: Shahbaz Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari's Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Imran Khan's PTI.

The third major party, the Pakistan Peoples Party, also complained that its polling agents were asked to leave during the vote count in a number of voting centres. It is to be noted that out of the total 272 National Assembly seats, 141 fall in Punjab, the most populous province of the country.

Rights groups have warned that a rancorous election campaign and widespread allegations of manipulation imperil the wobbly transition to democratic rule and raise the spectre of bitter challenges of fraud after the election. He also the urged people of the country to fulfill their towards their nation and turn up in huge numbers on the election day.

Election officials say delays in releasing the results are simply down to technical failures in the electronic reporting system and the votes are now being counted manually.

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The first voter to enter a polling station in the eastern city of Lahore was a woman, business executive Maryum Arif, who told AFP she planned to vote for the PML-N as "it has served Pakistan".

Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal (MMA) president Maulana Fazlur Rehman said he was going to call an All Parties Conference over the "rigged" election results.

Wednesday's voting was marred by a suicide bombing that killed 31 people near a polling station in Quetta, capital of the south-western province of Baluchistan.

The State Department spokesperson noted that Pakistan's Election Commission rejected registration of the Milli Muslim League (MML) in June, citing its linkages to Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), an internationally-sanctioned terrorist organisation. The slim lead of the PML-N showed that it would not be able to form a strong government here even if it manages to form a coalition.

The said region is encompassed by NA-124 constituency where Hamza Shehbaz Sharif, the son of Shehbaz Sharif is contesting against Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf's Nauman Qaiser and Zubair Kardar of Pakistan Peoples Party.

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Khan has been an outspoken critic of the US-led war in neighbouring Afghanistan as well as China's massive investment in Pakistan, which has racked up millions of dollars in debt to Beijing.

Sharif vowed later via Twitter to use "all political and legal options for redressal of these glaring excesses", adding that the party would meet on Thursday to decide a way forward.

"PML-N and PPP were running under constraints and PTI was operating with complete freedom and establishment backing".

Another PML-N veteran is likely to taste dust as PTI's Ali Haider Zaidi is ahead of former finance minister and Nawaz Sharif loyalist Miftah Ismail by 2,183 votes from NA-244 (Karachi East-III seat).

Pakistan citizens went to the polls a few hours before the blast amid heavy security following the assassination of a candidate.

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Wednesday's attack comes as Pakistanis vote in general elections for 270 members of the law-making National Assembly, or lower house of parliament, and 577 seats in four provincial assemblies.

As well as expressing anti-US views, Khan has promised to build a 'model Islamic welfare state, ' create 10 million new jobs and stamp out corruption, despite being accused by opponents of engaging in corrupt activity himself.

Around 370,000 troops have been station at polling stations. Others or the non-aligned candidates, including independents, are ahead in 62 constituencies.

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