Pakistan election: Imran Khan projected to win

Charlene Craig
July 26, 2018

"This [PTI] would be first government which will avoid political victimization".

It is a stunning rise for an anti-corruption crusader who spent much of his political career on the fringes of Pakistani politics. The stock market shot up almost 2 percent in early trading on relief that Khan was expected to be able to form a stable coalition. We are not being provided certified results by the election commission.

After the boycott of the 2008 general elections, Khan baffled many rival political parties by igniting thousands of Pakistanis to public rallies in Lahore and Karachi in late 2011. However, his attempt seems to have gone in vain with Imran Khan's PTI inching close to form the next government in Pakistan. The Election Commission of Pakistan ruled out any "conspiracy" in the delay.

Babar Yaqoob said that in the previous elections, nearly three days were spent for compilation of the results.

Khan's party was leading in 114 of the 272 National Assembly seats.

Electoral authorities said official results declaring an outright victor were not expected before late Thursday morning.

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Sharif's brother Shehbaz, who now leads the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), rejected the count after complaints soldiers stationed in polling stations had thrown out political parties' monitors during the tabulations.

The rise of Khan was imminent after a provincial victory in the 2013 general elections in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, where he managed to govern for full 5 years. Earlier, his spokesperson, Fawad Chaudhry, tweeted: "Congratulations to the nation on a new Pakistan!" His party's good performance was often projected as bad news for both Pakistan and India, especially because of the cricketer-turned politician's alleged proximity to the military.

Neither candidate's party appeared likely to win a clear majority in the National Assembly, with results likely to be known by around 2am local time on Thursday.

"The completion of the election clears the path for the International Monetary Fund negotiation, which is what, in the short-term, investors care most about", said Hasnain Malik, the Dubai-based head of equity research at Exotix Capital.

The election was hit by violence after a suicide bombing outside a polling station in Quetta on Wednesday killed at least 31 people - including five policeman and two children.

Pakistani security personnel gather at the site of a suicide attack near a polling station in Quetta on July 25, 2018.

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Wednesday's elections were meant to be a rare democratic transition from one civilian government to another in the young, nuclear-armed country which has been ruled by the military for roughly half its history. PML-N president and former Punjab CM Shehbaz Sharif, MMA chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, former opposition leader in the National Assembly Khurshid Shah and former Sindh CM Murad Ali Shah have also cast their votes in their respective constituencies.

"It is a sheer rigging".

Khan, 66, told a news conference that he wanted Pakistan to become the country envisioned by its founder, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, in 1948 with a state that "cares for the weak" and seeks to treat all people equally.

Cameras followed Khan into the polling station where he voted on Wednesday.

"We will sweep the elections", said Abdul Basit, a supporter of Khan's, who watched the results on a large TV screen.

The build-up to the elections was marred by allegations that the all-powerful army was trying to manipulate the process and install a PTI-led government. The so-called Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack.

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"It's an incredible lesson in tenacity, belief & refusal to accept defeat", she tweeted".

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