Imran Khan’s party says outcome of Pakistan elections 'biggest voter fraud'

A week after polling was held for the general elections, there is no sign of a government in cash-strapped Pakistan

Imran Khan has been in jail since May 2023 (video screengrab)
Imran Khan has been in jail since May 2023 (video screengrab)


Claiming that at least 85 seats won by it in Parliament were snatched by rigging, jailed former prime minister Imran Khan’s party on Friday said the outcome of Pakistan's elections would be remembered as the “biggest voter fraud” in the country’s history against the party and its successful candidates.

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, founded by the cricketer-turned-politician, also deplored the 8 February polls, saying the elections would be remembered in the country's history owing to the scale of vote rigging.

A week after polling was held for the general elections, there is no sign of a government in cash-strapped Pakistan. Independent candidates backed by Khan’s PTI won the lion’s share of seats in the 266-member National Assembly, when none of the other parties won a clear majority.

Counting of votes was suspended the night after polling, prompting the PTI to claim that the polls were rigged. Ever since, the party has regularly alleged that the establishment followed incorrect procedure to declare PTI’s rivals as winners.

On Friday, a fresh round of crackdowns, allegedly by the Pakistan Army, was launched against Khan's party in a bid to put pressure on the winners in the elections to change their loyalties to parties backed by the powerful military.

The crackdown came amidst a possibility of a coalition government by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Pakistan People's Party (PPP), and four smaller parties.

Later in the afternoon, addressing a well attended press conference in national capital Islamabad, PTI’s central information secretary Raoof Hasan said: “According to our estimates, out of 177 [National Assembly] seats, which were supposed to be ours, only 92 have been given to us. And 85 seats have been taken away from us fraudulently."

The party was taking constitutional and legal steps, Hasan said, adding that the party has verified data for about 46 seats, and data is being compiled for another 39.

Describing in detail that the party had three ways to ascertain the alleged rigging, the PTI leader said, “There were discrepancies between form 45 and form 47; there was also a huge difference in the numbers of votes polled for National Assembly and provincial assembly seats and the number of rejected votes, in certain cases, exceeded the margin of victory.”

For a press conference, the setting was unusual and looked more like a pandal for some event. Almost 70 candidates sat along with the main leaders, each showcasing his or her form 45 with a claim of victory. Form 45 is collected from polling stations in a constituency, while form 47 shows the consolidated results of a constituency.

A presentation detailing seat-wise statistics was also shown during the press conference. Soon after this, party leader Seemabia Tahir took to the stage and played a video of the alleged rigging in the 8 February polls.

She also mentioned PTI senior leader Yasmeen Rashid's defeat against PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif in the NA-130 seat, and claimed that Rashid was leading until the night but the latter was declared the winner the next morning.

The allegations made during the press conference were the same that Khan and PTI have been making in the run-up to, and even after the general elections. One of the allegations was that the polls were “not free and fair”. Salman Akram Raja, who had contested from the NA-128 seat, lambasted the electoral authorities, claiming that “rigging took place from polling stations to the returning officers’ office”.

“What the people voted for was changed in the dark of night,” The News International said, quoting Raja.

Meanwhile, throughout the day, the party’s official X and other social media handles kept posting updates about protests from across the country. “Countrywide peaceful protests are ongoing against the massive rigging in elections 2024. In Sindh, PPP and MQM benefitted of this rigging and mandate of the public is not being respected!,” said one such post, which also had a small video with it.

Follow us on: Facebook, Twitter, Google News, Instagram 

Join our official telegram channel (@nationalherald) and stay updated with the latest headlines