Candidates affiliated with the party of jailed former Prime Minister Imran Khan are currently leading in Pakistan’s election, surpassing two dynastic parties believed to have the support of the military. Vote counting is nearing completion, with PTI candidates taking the lead despite facing obstacles such as being forced to run as independents due to being barred from using the party symbol.
Election results have shown PTI-affiliated candidates leading, followed closely by PMLN and PPP contenders. Independent candidates, many of whom are backed by PTI, have secured 99 seats out of 266 total in the National Assembly. PMLN has won 69, and PPP 52, with results still pending for approximately two dozen seats.
Nawaz Sharif, leader of the PMLN, has expressed his intention to form a coalition government after his party fell behind independent candidates supported by Khan. Meanwhile, in an AI-generated speech, Khan hailed the election as a victory and expressed gratitude to the nation for making history.
The election took place while Khan, who has been in jail since August, faced sentencing in multiple cases he claimed to be politically motivated. The 71-year-old leader was handed lengthy prison sentences for corruption and leaking state secrets. Despite these challenges, PTI’s election lead came as a surprise to many.
The elections were marred by violence and accusations of political engineering, with reports of armed group violence and the suspension of mobile phone services. PTI spokesperson Raoof Hasan accused authorities of tampering with the results, prompting concerns about the integrity of the election process.
Countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom have called for investigations into reported irregularities in Pakistan’s general elections as the final vote count is still ongoing. The final tally is expected to be announced later on Friday.