South Asia

Imran Khan’s party eyes government formation, threatens protests in Pakistan

In Pakistan, candidates backed by Imran Khan’s party, Pakistan Tehreek-Insaf (PTI), are planning to form a government, according to a senior aide of the jailed opposition leader and former Prime Minister. The aide urged supporters to protest peacefully if final election results, following Thursday’s general election, are delayed.

With the nation of 241 million reeling from an economic crisis and militant violence, both Khan and his main rival, three-time former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, claimed victory on Friday, complicating the political landscape.

Gohar Khan, chairman of PTI and Khan’s lawyer, appealed to all Pakistani institutions to honor his party’s mandate. He warned of peaceful protests outside government offices on Sunday if complete poll results were not released by Saturday night.

In Peshawar, hundreds of Khan’s supporters, led by two aides who claimed victory despite official results to the contrary, rallied against alleged vote fraud.

Meanwhile, Sharif announced on Friday that his Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party, emerging as the largest group, would seek coalition partners.

As of 5 p.m. Saturday (1200 GMT), results for 10 of the 265 contested seats remained undeclared. The election commission’s latest tally showed independent candidates winning 100 seats, with PML-N taking 72. A Reuters analysis indicated that at least 90 victorious independents were supported by Khan’s PTI.

Khan’s supporters, running as independents due to a ban by the election commission for non-compliance with electoral laws, showed strong turnout despite Khan’s imprisonment on various charges.

Under Pakistani electoral law, however, independents are ineligible for the 70 reserved seats allocated by party strength, potentially benefiting Sharif’s PML-N with up to 20 of these seats.