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Imran Khan and Nawaz Sharif claim electoral advantages


The results of Pakistan's election have been announced. Although no political group has a clear majority, candidates associated with imprisoned former Prime Minister Imran Khan have won the most seats.

Contrary to expectations, the results have surpassed predictions, leading Mr Khan to assert his triumph.

Nevertheless, former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif asserts that his political party has emerged as the biggest and encourages other parties to form a coalition.

Pakistan's army commander on Saturday called on the nation to transcend the politics of "chaos and division."

General Asim Munir emphasised the need for a capable leader to unite the many political factions in Pakistan and ensure that democracy operates effectively and with clear objectives.

The army has significant influence in Pakistani politics and is usually seen to have supported Mr. Nawaz.

The PML-N party led by Mr Sharif has initiated discussions with other political factions to establish a coalition government.

The definitive official results have yet to be declared.

In a resolute video message published on X via the utilisation of artificial intelligence, Imran Khan, the attributed source, proclaimed that his political party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), achieved a decisive triumph, surpassing the obstacles he referred to as a severe suppression of his party.

The letter congratulated all individuals on their victory in the 2024 election. It acknowledged their accomplishments as a significant event in history.

Mr Khan is now incarcerated after being found guilty in cases he claims are driven by political motives.

The victory of the candidates affiliated with PTI was unexpected, as most analysts concur that Mr Sharif, considered to have the support of the influential military, was the unequivocal frontrunner.

However, the PTI is now not acknowledged as a legitimate party due to its disqualification from participating in the election. Therefore, Mr Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz), or PML-N, is the biggest officially recognised political entity.

The intense negotiations and bargaining among political parties have started, indicating that it may take some time before any party can confidently declare a clear and undisputed triumph.

During his statement on Friday, Mr Sharif openly admitted that he lacked the necessary support to establish a government alone. However, when speaking to his followers outside his party's headquarters in Lahore, he called for other candidates to unite with him in a coalition and asserted his ability to alleviate the nation's current challenges.

Zulfikar Bukhari, the former special assistant to Mr Khan, said during an interview on the News Night show on Friday that based on his understanding of Imran Khan and the principles of our political party, PTI, he believes that we would not create any coalition or government with any of the major parties. Nevertheless, we will establish a coalition to enter parliament, but not as an autonomous entity. Instead, we will unite under a single flag and political party.

When questioned about the possibility of Mr Khan's release, Mr Bukhari expressed strong confidence that he would be free if the case reached the high court and the Supreme Court. Furthermore, he believes that many, if not all, of the allegations against Mr Khan will be dismissed based on their lack of legal and procedural validity.

The Pakistan People's Party (PPP), headed by Bilawal Bhutto, the son of the late Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, who was killed in 2007, is now the third-largest political party.

Burzine Waghmar, a scholar affiliated with the Centre for the Study of Pakistan at SOAS University of London, said that the next elections could be divisive and perilous for Pakistan's chronically fragile and intermittent democratic system.

As the results gradually became available, the UK and the US expressed apprehensions over limitations on electoral liberties during the voting process.

David Cameronthe British Foreign Secretary, expressed the UK's strong recommendation for authorities in Pakistan to maintain and protect essential human rights, such as unrestricted access to information and adherence to the principles of justice.

In his remarks, he expressed remorse that not all parties were officially allowed to participate in the elections.

US State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller condemned the excessive limitations on freedom of speech, association, and peaceful assembly that occurred during Pakistan's voting process.

In addition, he mentioned "assaults on media personnel" and "limitations on internet and telecommunication accessibility" as concerns over "accusations of intervention" in the process.

Observers have widely regarded this election as one of the least trustworthy in Pakistan.

According to voters in Lahore, the internet outage on Election Day hindered their ability to reserve cabs for transportation to the voting locations. Additionally, several individuals said they needed help synchronising their arrival at the polling sites with their family members.

According to a spokesperson from the Interior Ministry, the power outages were deemed essential due to security concerns.

The military's support is crucial for political success in Pakistan, and observers assert that Mr Sharif and his party still have their endorsement despite their previous disagreements.

Maya Tudor, an associate professor at the Blavatnik School of Government at the University of Oxford, expressed astonishment at the significant advantage gained by Imran Khan's PTI party, considering the nation's historical background.

"A victory would be extraordinary - in all previous elections in Pakistan's recent history, the candidate favoured by the military has emerged as the winner," Dr Tudor elucidated.

One hundred twenty-eight million individuals were registered to exercise their voting rights, with over 50% under 35. A total of 5,000 candidates, just 313 women, competed for 266 directly elected seats in the 336-member National Assembly.

Maleeha Lodhi, Pakistan's ex-ambassador to the United States, emphasised Pakistan's urgent need for political stability to tackle what she regarded as the nation's most severe economic crisis.

However, Ms Lodhi expressed optimism by highlighting that Pakistan's voting turnout demonstrates a strong faith in the democratic system.

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