Pakistan polls: Imran Khan seems to have scored a century ‘unofficially'

Despite the mobile phones being cut off, Pakistanis came out to vote in large numbers

Imran Khan Imran Khan | Reuters

There is nothing official about it. But cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan seems to have scored a century ‘unofficially’, without his bat and declared out. It has been a long night of expectation in Pakistan. The Election of Pakistan has declared only 70 National Assembly results till 12:55 PST, in which Pakistan's People Party had 24 seats along with independent candidates and 18 for PMLN. 

Despite the mobile phones being cut off, on election day, Pakistanis come out to vote in large numbers. The performance of the independents, fielded by PTI—as Khan is in jail—is being been as a win for the party. The slowness of declaring the results—which is what happened in 2018 too—is being viewed as an attempt to rig the process. An allegation that the PMLN has stoutly defended. 

“Due to the unavailability of mobile and internet services, it became difficult to get the results,” posted Marriyum Aurangzeb on X. She said the party’s position was “strong” and they would form the government in Punjab and the Centre. The official results pouring in, however, have declared that the PMLN heavyweights are still in the game. Nawaz Sharif, who is the prime ministerial candidate with the backing of the military, rumoured to be losing his seat to the PTI’s Dr. Yasmin Rashid—according to social media sites—has won his seat in Lahore. His daughter Maryam Nawaz too, has won. 

“Tensions are building in Pakistan,’’ posted Michael Kugelman South Asia Institute Director at The Wilson Centre on X. “After preliminary election results showed surprising gains by the PTI, the party the military is dead set against returning to power, election results have been delayed for hours. Vote tampering and rigging fears are rife and with good reason.” 

Elections in Pakistan are not always about voting. With the military playing a big role, the “boys’’ as they are referred, are certainly going to put their stamp on the winner. “A key caveat: Even if PTI were declared the winner, the situation could be tricky, because its candidates had to run as independents. It would need to ensure that these winning independents don’t align with other parties. The establishment would likely to pressure them to do so,’’ posted Kugelman. 

While the results are still to be declared. Khan, who has showed that he can, certainly commands the street and has emerged the winner, even if he loses. Backed into a corner, and in jail, he has proven that his popularity has numbers even. The question is if there is anything official about them? 


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