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Delay in Pak poll results raises eyebrows; no clarity who is leading

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NewsDrum Desk
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Pakistan elections counting

Islamabadछ The Election Commission of Pakistan started announcing the 2024 poll results as parties expressed concern over a delay of more than 10 hours, but there was no clear picture till early hours of Friday on which party was leading the chart.

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Among the first unofficial results, the ECP announced that PTI-backed candidates have won three seats for the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provincial assembly.

The commission said that independent candidate Samiullah Khan won 18,888 votes according to results from 37.62 per cent of the polling stations for PK-76, the Dawn reported.

As for PK-6, independent candidate Fazal Hakeem Khan took 25,330 votes. The two are PTI-backed candidates.

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"Samiullah Khan has been declared the winner from Peshawar’s PK-76," ECP Special Secretary Zafar Iqbal said, according to the Dawn. "The winner candidate in this (PK-6) is Fazal Hakeem Khan, an independent." The Dawn reported that PTI-backed independent candidate Ali Shah has bagged Swat’s PK-4 constituency as per unofficial results from the Election Commission of Pakistan. He took 30,022 votes.

The polls closed Thursday evening and ballot counting began but there was no clear picture till about 3 am from the ECP about which party was leading.

As political parties complained about the delay and questioned the poll authority, the ECP directed all the provincial election commissioners and returning officers to announce the results within half an hour or else face strict action.

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In a press release issued well past the midnight, a copy of which is available with Dawn.com, the electoral watchdog also said the statements being run by media channels regarding the ECP were not true.

Former prime minister Imran Khan, the founding-chairman of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), is behind bars and barred from contesting. PTI candidates are running as independents after they were not allowed to use the party symbol - a cricket bat.

The polling started at 8.00 am Thursday and continued till 5.00 pm. A countrywide public holiday was declared to enable more than 12 crore voters to cast their ballots. The polling percentage is not yet known. In the 2018 elections, overall voter turnout across the nation was 51.7 per cent.

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In total 266 National Assembly seats were up for grabs out of 336, but polling was postponed on at least one seat after a candidate was killed in a gun attack in Bajaur. Another 60 seats are reserved for women and 10 for minorities, and are allotted to the winning parties based on proportional representation.

A party must win 133 seats out of 265 being contested to form the government.

PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif, the 74-year-old three-time prime minister who is eying the premiership for a record fourth term, was trailing PTI-backed independent candidate Dr Yasmin Rashid in Lahore's NA-130.

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Similarly, PPP chief Bilawal Bhutto Zardari was trailing in Lahore's NA-127. However, Sharif's younger brother Shehbaz was ahead of his rivals in Lahore's NA-123.

The PTI has claimed that election results across the country are being delayed after Khan’s candidate emerged victorious.

"There are reports of closure of the screens in the offices of returning officers in several circles," PTI’s Omary Ayub alleged in a video message posted on X.

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