South Asia

New Pakistani parliament sworn in amid allegations of election fraud

Pakistan’s National Assembly swore in new members Thursday amid chaotic protests by allies of jailed former Prime Minister Imran Khan, who claim the election was rigged.

Members of Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party repeatedly chanted “Vote-thief!” as Shehbaz Sharif, expected to form the next government, entered the lower house of parliament with his brother Nawaz Sharif, both former prime ministers.

Outgoing National Assembly Speaker Raja Pervez Ashraf administered the oath to the incoming legislators at noon.

The chamber resounded with chants of “Long Live Sharif!” when the Sharif brothers signed the register after taking their oaths. Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, chairman of the Pakistan People’s Party and a key ally of Sharif, received similar acclamations.

The incoming government faces challenges including a surge in militant attacks, energy shortages, and an ailing economy, necessitating another bailout from the International Monetary Fund.

PTI lawmakers told reporters they would continue to protest the alleged election rigging both inside and outside parliament. “Yes, the election has been rigged,” stated Gohar Ali Khan, PTI’s current head.

PTI has announced nationwide rallies for Saturday, claiming that results in dozens of constituencies were altered to prevent it from winning a majority, a charge the Election Commission of Pakistan denies.