Former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has alleged that 18 seats in the National Assembly were rigged in Pakistan’s elections. The party claimed that their candidates had won in these seats. Meanwhile, some US lawmakers have called on US President Joe Biden not to recognize the election results until the irregularities are investigated.
It was alleged by PTI on Sunday that the returning officers have changed the ‘Form 47’ related to the calculation of votes received by the contesting candidates in 18 seats of the National Assembly.
Cellphone services were suspended last Thursday on the day of polling in the national and provincial assembly elections. The declaration of preliminary results was also delayed. We had to wait till Saturday to get the results.
Voting is held in 266 seats of the National Assembly. However, polling in one seat was postponed due to the death of the candidate. The Election Commission of Pakistan has released the results of 264 constituencies so far.
According to the declared results, independent candidates have won maximum 101 seats. Almost all of them are PTI-backed. After that Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) won 75 seats, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) 54 and Muttahida Qaumi Movement Pakistan (MQM) 17 seats. Apart from this, other parties got 17 seats.
The PTI has claimed that it has a majority in the National Assembly and two provincial assemblies as a single party. The party has also pledged to get back the ‘cricket bat’ symbol it lost before the elections.
Imran Khan, convicted in several cases, is currently in jail. In a message sent using artificial intelligence (AI) on his official X account, the former party chief congratulated supporters on winning ‘two-thirds’ of the seats in the election. Alleging rigging, it said PTI had won 170 seats as per the preliminary count ‘Form 45’.
“If there is no investigation then no recognition of the result”
Several lawmakers from both the Democratic and Republican parties have called on US President Joe Biden not to recognize the results of Pakistan’s general election until allegations of irregularities are investigated.
Meanwhile, in a statement expressing concern about the allegations of interference in the election process, the spokesperson of the US State Department said, “Allegations of interference and fraud should be fully investigated.”
“We agree with the assessment of credible international and local election observers that these elections have imposed undue restrictions on freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly,” the statement added.
House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul said, ‘In light of recent strong statements by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman, Ranking Member Gregory Meeks and other prominent lawmakers in support of democracy in Pakistan, we urge the Biden administration and Congress to address the serious concerns of vote count irregularities and fraud. ‘
Brad Sherman, a senior member of the House of Representatives’ Foreign Affairs Committee, said, “Pakistani media should be free to report on the vote count and there should be no undue delay in announcing the results.”
Congress member Rashida Talib said, “As Pakistan’s democracy is under serious threat, we must stand by the people of the country.” They should be able to choose their own leadership without any interference and rigging in the electoral process. The United States must ensure that our tax dollars do not go to anyone who undermines the democratic process.’
Urging officials to follow the rule of law, Congresswoman Dina Titus said she was closely monitoring the situation on the ground. Condemning political violence and restrictions on freedom of expression in Pakistan, Titus said, “Free and fair elections are the foundation of a functioning democracy.”
Congress member Ilhan Omar referred to numerous allegations of election malpractices. He urged the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to “refrain from accepting the results until a credible and independent investigation” into these allegations.
Ilhan Omar also said, “I am deeply concerned about the news of Pakistan’s election interference.” The legitimacy of any new government depends on fair elections free from rigging, intimidation or fraud. The people of Pakistan cannot accept anything less than a transparent democratic process and a truly representative government.”
In a post on social media X (formerly Twitter), Congressman Greg Cassar said, “I echo the State Department’s call for an investigation into election interference and fraud in Pakistan.” The United States should ensure that a credible and independent investigation is completed before recognizing the election results.
Meanwhile, the party’s current chief Gahar Ali Khan called for the release of PTI’s “royal prisoners” including Imran Khan. He made this call yesterday in response to Army Chief General Asim Munir’s statement about ‘minimizing division’ after the elections.
According to the prothomalo