Former star cricketer Imran Khan’s Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) is leading Pakistan’s general elections, partial results show.
With 30 percent of the votes counted by Wednesday morning, Khan’s party is ahead in 113 of 272 contested constituencies.
Jailed ex-Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) is leading in 66, while the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), led by the son of the assassinated two-time prime minister, Benazir Bhutto, led in 39 constituencies.
Sharif’s brother Shehbaz, head of the PML-N, has rejected the results following complaints that soldiers stationed in polling stations had thrown out poll monitors from political parties while vote counting was underway.
“It is a sheer rigging. The way the people’s mandate has blatantly been insulted, it is intolerable,” said Shehbaz.
“We totally reject this result… It is a big shock to Pakistan’s democratic process,” he added.
Meanwhile, Pakistan’s Election Commission has announced that a technical problem caused the delay in announcing the final results.
“There’s no conspiracy, nor any pressure in delay of the results,” said Babar Yaqoob, secretary of the Election Commission of Pakistan.
“The delay is being caused because the result transmission system has collapsed,” he added.
Earlier, a bloody bombing attack cast dark shadows over Pakistan’s long-awaited election day, despite the deployment of hundreds of thousands of troops to secure a consequential vote that would lead to a rare democratic transition of power in the country’s 71-year history.
A huge explosion tore through a polling station in the southwestern city of Quetta just hours after polls opened. As many as 30 are confirmed dead and dozens more have been wounded.
The terror group Daesh has claimed responsibility for Wednesday’s explosion. Baluchistan, Pakistan’s poorest and most restive province, suffers from violence instigated by several militant groups.
The latest polls suggest that the former cricket hero is leading the race to become Pakistan’s next prime minister.
He returned from London earlier this month, along with his daughter Maryam. Both, however, were taken into custody. Sharif faces 10 years in jail and his daughter will be imprisoned for seven years.
In the event of PML-N’s victory, Shrif’s brother and former Punjab Chief Minister, Shahbaz would be the next prime minister.