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ECP announces complete results of Pakistan's general election

Pakistan police clash with Imran's supporters at protests

February 12, 2024 00:00:00

ISLAMABAD, Feb. 11 (Xinhua/UNB) -- The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Sunday announced the complete results of the country's General Election 2024 held on Feb. 8.

According to the election results announced for the National Assembly (NA), or the lower house of the country's parliament, independent candidates got 101 seats, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif got 75 seats and the Pakistan Peoples Party Parliamentarians of former foreign minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari got 54 seats.

The Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan got 17 seats, the Jamiat Ulama-e-Islam Pakistan got four seats, the Pakistan Muslim League got three seats, the Istehkam-e-Pakistan Party and Balochistan National Party got two seats each, while Majlis Wahdat-e-Muslimeen Pakistan, Pakistan Muslim League (Zia-ul-Haq Shaheed), Pashtoonkhwa National Awami Party Pakistan, Balochistan Awami Party, Pashtoonkhwa Milli Awami Party and the National Party got one seat each.

The ECP announced the result of 262 out of 266 seats for the NA after the country held general elections on Feb. 8 to elect a government for the next five-year term.

The election body of the country postponed voting for one seat due to the death of a candidate and withheld the result for one seat and announced partial re-voting for it.

AFP adds: Police fired tear gas to disperse supporters of jailed former Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan Sunday after his party urged protests outside election offices where they said rigging had taken place in last week's national vote.

Clashes were reported in Rawalpindi city, south of the capital, and Lahore, in the east, while dozens of other protests were held across the country without incident.

Police warned earlier they would come down hard on illegal gatherings. There were no immediate reports of injuries from the protests.

Independent candidates -- most linked to Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party -- took the most seats in the polls, scuppering the chances of the army-backed Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) to win a ruling majority.

However, independents cannot form a government and the country faces weeks of political uncertainty as rival parties negotiate possible coalitions.

PTI leaders claim they would have won even more seats if not for vote rigging.

A nationwide election-day mobile telephone blackout and the slow counting of results led to suspicions the military establishment was influencing the process to ensure success for former premier Nawaz Sharif's PML-N.

"Throughout Pakistan, elections were manipulated in a subtle way," PTI chairman Gohar Ali Khan told a news conference Saturday, calling on supporters to "protest peacefully" on Sunday.

Authorities warned they would take strict action, saying so-called Section 144 orders were in place -- a colonial-era law banning public gatherings.

"Some individuals are inciting illegal gatherings around the Election Commission and other government offices," a statement from Islamabad's police force said on Sunday.

"Legal action will be taken against unlawful assemblies. It should be noted that soliciting for gatherings is also a crime," it said.

A similar warning was also issued in Rawalpindi, while dozens of police equipped with riot gear assembled near Liberty Market in Lahore.

In Rawalpindi, AFP staff saw police fire tear gas at a crowd of dozens of PTI supporters after they refused orders to stop picketing an office used to collect constituency election results.

Another gathering of around 200 PTI supporters in Lahore dispersed quickly when police moved in with riot shields and batons.

Local media said several people were detained in Karachi, in the south, when they refused orders to clear the area.

Imran Khan's party defied a months-long crackdown, which crippled campaigning and forced candidates to run as independents, to emerge as the winners of Thursday's vote.

Final results were announced Sunday, with independents winning 101 seats, PML-N 75, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) 54, and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) 17.

Ten minor parties mopped up the remaining 17 seats, with two remaining vacant.

"The results have clearly indicated that no single party possesses a simple majority to establish a government," said Zahid Hussain, a political analyst and author.

"The political future of the country from this point onward is highly uncertain."

Still, PTI leaders insist they have been given a "people's mandate" to form the next government.

"The people have decided in favour of Imran Khan," party chairman Gohar Ali Khan told Arab News in an interview.

A coalition between the PML-N and the PPP -- who formed the last government after ousting Imran Khan with a no-confidence vote in April 2022 -- still seems the most likely outcome.

Pakistan's military chief told feuding politicians on Saturday to show "maturity and unity".

"The nation needs stable hands and a healing touch to move on from the politics of anarchy and polarisation which does not suit a progressive country of 250 million people," General Syed Asim Munir said in a statement.

The military looms large over Pakistan's political landscape, with generals having run the country for nearly half its history since partition from India in 1947.

The military-backed PML-N, founded by three-time prime minister Sharif, declared victory as the party with the largest number of seats, but to form a government he will be forced to cut deals with rivals and independents.

Imran Khan was barred from contesting the election after being handed several lengthy prison sentences in the days leading up to the vote.

He was convicted this month of treason, graft and having an un-Islamic marriage in three separate trials among nearly 200 cases brought against him since he was ousted.

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