South Asia

Imran Khan, from jail, claims Pakistan election victory

Former Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan. File photo.

ISLAMABAD — Imran Khan, Pakistan’s jailed former Prime Minister, claimed victory in the national election on Friday through an artificial intelligence-generated audio-visual message on his social media account.

Contradicting Nawaz Sharif’s earlier victory declaration, Khan, usually communicating through his lawyers, urged his supporters to celebrate.

Despite being imprisoned and his party’s exclusion from the polls, independent candidates aligned with Khan secured the most seats in Thursday’s election.

Sharif, also a former Prime Minister, announced on Friday that his party, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), emerged as the largest faction but fell short of a majority, planning to form a coalition government.

Results from more than three-quarters of the 265 seats were announced over 24 hours following Thursday’s poll closure. The election was marred by militant attacks, resulting in 28 deaths.

Analysts had predicted a tight race, adding complexity to a nation grappling with economic challenges and escalating militant violence amid political division.