Head of Pakistan’s former ruling party dismisses ‘tampered with’ results before they’ve even been announced
Shahbaz Sharif, head of the Pakistan Muslim League party did not say how votes were being tampered with or provide any evidence
The head of Pakistan’s former ruling party has rejected the results of the country’s parliamentary elections before the results are announced, claiming that the vote was rigged.
Shahbaz Sharif, who heads the Pakistan Muslim League party, said the results of Wednesday’s vote were being tampered with. He didn’t provide any evidence or elaborate.
His allegation came hours after the closing of polls on Wednesday, although the country’s elections oversight body was yet to announce even the first result of the elections.
The vote was overshadowed by violence in which 31 people were killed when a bomber blew himself up outside a polling station in the southwestern city of Quetta.
A suicide bomber on a motorcycle rammed into people waiting outside a polling station in the city of Quetta, killing 31 people after the polls there opened. The attack underscored difficulties Pakistan faces on its journey toward sustained democracy.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemned the attack, and UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said: “The United Nations stands in solidarity with and supports the efforts of the government of Pakistan in the fight against terrorism.”
Violence was also seen in clashes between the rival political parties, with at least two people killed and 15 wounded across the country.
Sharif is facing off against former cricketer Imran Khan, who was told earlier in the day that his vote could be disqualified after he cast his ballot in front of television cameras, because doing so violated “the secrecy of the ballot paper”.
Nadeem Qasim, the spokesman for Pakistan’s Election Commission, said that a notice was issued to Khan after he marked his ballot in front of TV and photographic cameras in violation of Pakistan’s constitution, which guarantees the secrecy of the ballot. Images show a smiling Khan with his ballot paper laid out in front of him as he marks the ballot.
There were 85,307 polling stations across Pakistan, with more than 11,000 candidates are vying for 270 seats in parliament and 570 seats in four provincial assemblies.
Voting for two parliament seats and six seats in provincial assemblies has been postponed for a later date, due to attacks on candidates or disqualifications. One candidate in the Sindh provincial assembly was unopposed and has already secured that seat.
Under Pakistani law, separate seats are reserved for women and for non-Muslim minorities, who comprise 4 per cent of the population.