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Pakistan. Two people died in the riots that broke out after the parliamentary elections

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Former Pakistani prime ministers and bitter rivals Nawaz Sharif and Imran Khan claimed election victory on Friday. Counting votes too slowly, limiting the use of mobile phones and the Internet on voting day, and other irregularities contribute to growing tensions and a climate of distrust among voters.

Two people were killed on Friday in riots that broke out after Pakistan’s parliamentary elections, although the outcome of the vote remains uncertain. Both supporters of former Prime Minister Imran Khan and former Chief Minister Nawaz Sharif claimed victory.

Candidates supported by former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Pakistan Movement for Justice (PTI) performed best in the elections in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, bordering Afghanistan, where riots broke out on Friday evening. Two PTI supporters were killed and 24 people were injured.

Demonstrations were organized in the capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, Peshawar, and in Quetta, the capital of the northern country of Baluchistan.

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Growing tensions and a climate of distrust among voters

Votes from 225 of 266 constituencies have been counted so far. The PTI party of Imran Khan, who was unable to run in the elections because he has been banned from participating in politics for many years due to civil and criminal charges, probably won the most votes.

It is currently slightly ahead of the two parties that previously dominated the country’s political scene – the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP).

However, none of these formations will gain a significant enough majority to form a government on their own, and Sharif’s PML-N party, which was predicted to win these elections, has the best chance of building a coalition.

Parliamentary elections were held in PakistanWAQAR HUSSAIN/PAP/EPA

Counting votes too slowly, limiting the use of mobile phones and the Internet on voting day, and other irregularities contribute to growing tensions and a climate of distrust among voters. Some of them believe that PTI was “robbed of victory” and the real election results were changed, writes AFP.

British Foreign Minister David Cameron said on Friday evening that after Nawaz Sharif (PML-N) announced victory, London has very serious concerns that the elections were not fair.

“We regret that (…) legal procedures have been used to prevent certain political leaders from participating (in elections) and from using recognizable party symbols,” said Cameron’s statement, which referred, among others, to the situation of Imran Khan and to that the politicians of his party (PTI) had to trample as independent candidates.

Disputes over the influence of the army

The main topic of the public pre-election debate in Pakistan was the absence from the electoral rolls of the founder and leader of PTI, who, despite the ongoing proceedings against him, remains very popular.

He was a prime minister who directly opposed the extremely influential Pakistani army, which had de facto ruled the country for several decades. Kahn accuses the armed forces of causing his overthrow in April 2022.

Gallup Pakistan polling director Bilal Gilani said in an interview with AFP that “even if PTI fails to form a government, the vote proves that there are limits to electoral manipulation. (…) They show that the army does not always get what it wants.”

Author:asty / prpb

Main photo source: WAQAR HUSSAIN/PAP/EPA



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