Pakistan’s opposition parties have rejected the general election results, calling for what they described as a transparent, and free and fair re-election.
Cricket star Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party (PTI) won 115 seats in Wednesday’s vote, but fell short of the 137 needed to secure an outright majority.
The latest tally, released early Saturday after long delays, showed the outgoing Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) had 64 seats and the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), which could prove kingmaker in a coalition government, won 43.
The multi-party conference (MPC) – an alliance of five religious political parties – and the PPP late on Friday rejected the 2018 general elections results at the end of a party conference and demanded re-election, saying that the polls were “rigged massively” and the results were manipulated.
“The All Parties Conference (APC) has unanimously and totally rejected the election held on July 25. We do not consider this election to be the mandate of the public, but a robbery of the people’s mandate,” said Maulana Fazlur Rehman, chairman of the APC conference.
“We reject the claims of those people who are claiming victory as a result of this election. And we do not want to give them the right of governance.”
The opposition parties, with tens of thousands of supporters, also threatened nationwide street protests unless the country’s election was re-run.
“We will start a movement to demand a re-election. We will organize protest rallies, and a committee will be formed with immediate effect to chalk out this schedule and to guide party followers and also to invite the public to join in,” Rehman added.
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, the PPP’s chairperson, also rejected the election process and claimed the election was not free and fair.
Addressing a news conference on Friday, Bilawal demanded the resignation of the Pakistan’s Election Commission chief over failure to conduct transparent polls.
“We don’t accept the results of the elections,” Bilawal said, adding that the commission, which is responsible for carrying out transparent polls, had failed in its task.
During a victory speech before official results came out, Khan, a 65-year-old former cricket star, offered to investigate opposition allegations of vote rigging and said he intended to “unite” the country under his leadership.
On Saturday, he was expected to launch coalition talks with smaller parties after scooping up 16.86 million votes in a better-than-expected performance.
Khan trounced the party of jailed former premier Nawaz Sharif, which finished second with 12.89 million votes.
International observers, including a European Union delegation, have also vowed to give their preliminary assessments of the vote after rival parties alleged “blatant” rigging.
The EU Election Observation Mission said the electoral process was “not as good” as the 2013 election and the election campaign featured a “lack of equality.”
“Although there were several legal provisions aimed at ensuring a level playing field, we have concluded that there was a lack of equality and opportunity,” chief observer Michael Gahler told reporters.
“On election day, polling was assessed as well conducted and transparent, however, counting was somewhat problematic with staff not always following the procedures… The credibility or the legitimacy of this process, that is for the people of Pakistan,” he added.
Pakistan was marred by violence and allegations of military interference in the months leading up to the vote.
The next prime minister will face a multitude of challenges, including extremism, economic crisis, water shortages and a booming population.
Source: Press TV