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Election Dispute in Pakistan: PTI's Independent Candidates Question Results

© AP Photo / W.K. YousafzaiPakistan's former Prime Minister Imran Khan, center, arrives to appear at a Supreme Court in Islamabad, Pakistan, Monday, July 24, 2023.
Pakistan's former Prime Minister Imran Khan, center, arrives to appear at a Supreme Court in Islamabad, Pakistan, Monday, July 24, 2023. - Sputnik India, 1920, 09.02.2024
On Thursday, from unforeseen events to anticipated outcomes, Pakistan's general election took place following a prolonged period of socio-political turmoil and security concerns in the country.
Unofficial reports indicate that independent candidates affiliated with PTI are securing significant leads, a surprising turn of events. Despite the unofficial results showing a clear advantage for PTI-backed independents, concerns have arisen as the election commission has failed to announce the results within the mandated 16-hours timeframe.

The twist is that when crackdowns on PTI members, detentions of leaders, and human rights violations surged in Pakistan this month, global peace and human rights campaigns remained silent. But now, following Pakistan's general election, the US and related human rights organizations have now taken notice of these events.

On Friday, the US State Department expressed concern about human rights violations during the general elections and their aftermath. Vedant Patel expressed, "Our focus is on the democratic process. We strongly denounce incidents of election-related violence."
In the meantime, the US and its allies are worried about what Pakistan's foreign policy would be if Imran Khan's party wins.

General Election of Pakistan

In this regard, on Friday, the key leaders of PTI party unveil that it can form the government at the country's center and in two provinces. Apart from Karachi, PPP appears poised to maintain its dominance in Sindh. PML-N party is performing well, as per unofficial report, in central Punjab and some other regions.
In the general election of 2024, voting took place for 265 out of 266 National Assembly seats and 590 out of 593 provincial assembly seats. A significant number of young voters participated, raising expectations for a potential surprise outcome.
Nonetheless, despite widespread skepticism about the electoral process, security issues, clashes in country's peripheries, millions of people lined up to cast their votes in the long-awaited elections held on Feb 8.
Thus, the anticipation for election results was met with disappointment as the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) could only announce some results by 4 a.m on Friday morning.

"On Thursday, late night, unofficial reports indicated that candidates supported by PTI were in the lead. However, due to significant delays, the Election Commission has now announced some results for the Punjab Assembly and National Assembly. These results suggest that it may be challenging for PTI and Imran Khan to form the government at the federal level," Umair Aslam, Founder & CEO of the Global Defense Insight,& political analyst, told Sputnik India.

Hamid Mir, a journalist, senior news anchor, and political analyst, expressed on a live TV show that he fears and foresees a potential clash between political parties, news channels, the elections tribunal, and the Establishment regarding the election.
© AP Photo / Rahmat GulPakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)  - Sputnik India, 1920, 09.02.2024
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)

Anxiety Surges As PTI Leads and Potential Foreign Policy Shift Looms

As per media report, the country Interior Ministry suspended cellular services early Thursday morning due to security concerns. Despite a mostly peaceful polling process, a terror attack in Dera Ismail Khan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, resulted in the tragic loss of four policemen.

In this regard, the imprisoned Ex- PM Imran Khan has cautioned that Pakistani authorities are attempting to manipulate the results of the federal election. Khan asserted that Pakistani voters have granted him a resounding victory, despite the fact that the official results have not been declared yet.

The election results were anticipated to be finalized a few hours after midnight, with full compilation expected in the early hours of Friday via the ECP’s Result Management System. However, there is currently a significant delay in the release of unofficial results.

"Concerns about human rights violations during elections are valid and must be addressed to ensure democratic integrity. PTI's victory may have implications for Pakistan's foreign policy. However, while political parties may have their inclinations, national interests drive state-level decisions in international relations," Salman Javed, a senior political analyst, told Sputnik India.

"Hence, engagement with the US, West, and Russia would be guided by Pakistan's national interests, balancing alliances and regional dynamics while addressing concerns raised by international partners," he added.

He further quoted "As for the delayed announcement by the Election Commission of Pakistan, it raises concerns about transparency and procedural integrity. Any delays must be addressed promptly to uphold the credibility of the electoral process."
As per unofficial sources, by late Thursday, independent candidates supported by PTI were in the lead in the elections. However, the release of results slowed down significantly after that. It has been 15 hours since the general election, and the Election Commission of Pakistan has not yet officially announced the results, hinting at potential surprises ahead.
An ex-Punjab Provincial Minister & political analyst, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Sputnik.

"The history of Pakistan is marked by uncertainty due to the influence of certain powers. In every election, unexpected political events unfold, leading to anticipation of what might come next. It is disheartening that in a democratic nation, the official election results are still not announced on the second day following the election," the analyst said.

Moreover, he added, "Despite significant investments in the Election Commission's infrastructure, operations, and staffing for each election, doubts persist regarding electoral rigging and interference."
In this context, PTI candidates are increasingly concerned and suspicious about the role of the country's establishment in potentially influencing or altering the election results.
If PTI supported candidates win the elections in a large margin, and make government in centre, then there is a big chance that Pakistan would revisit its internal, foreign policy, along with international affairs.

"However, as we have seen previously, Imran Khan and his party PTI has consistently advocated for an independent foreign policy. His stance is unequivocal: he aims to foster positive relations with all nations based on mutual respect and shared national interests," U. Aslam, defense & political analyst told.

As per media report and analysis, from the outset, it was Imran Khan who staunchly opposed the US drone strikes on Pakistan's territories during the Afghan war. The ex-PM of Pakistan's visit to Moscow and his tilt towards Russia were core reasons for the toppling of Khan's government.

"He also demonstrated clarity in international politics and foreign policy matters, emphasizing the importance of upholding the country's sovereignty. Additionally, he voiced his opposition to Pakistan aligning itself with the American proxy war in Afghanistan, " Minister exclaimed.

Chairs with blood stain are seen on the ground after Sunday's suicide bomber attack in the Bajur district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan, Monday, July 31, 2023. - Sputnik India, 1920, 08.02.2024
Political Affairs
Blood, Politics & Pakistan’s General Elections
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