Islamabad/Lahore, Feb 9 (PTI) Returning Officers in Pakistan have stopped issuing the results to the media following an apparent victory of Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) in most seats in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces.
General elections were held across the country on Thursday which were largely peaceful. Initial trends of results broadcast by the local media showed the PTI was leading in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab provinces.
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) which was supposed to issue results to the media has not yet released a single result, offering no reason for stopping the results.
On the other hand, Pakistan’s caretaker government has yet to restore cellphone and internet services in the country which were shut down at 8 am on Thursday citing security issues on the polling day.
PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif, who is currently a military establishment favourite, and set to form the government after the polls left his party office for home after receiving a "humiliating defeat" report, a PML-N insider told PTI.
“Nawaz Sharif, his brother Shehbaz Sharif, and daughter Maryam Nawaz who had gathered at the Model Town party office left late Thursday night for home after knowing the PML-N’s humiliating defeat in the polls,” he said.
Nawaz Sharif was lagging behind in Lahore’s NA-130 constituency against Khan’s PTI-backed Dr Yasmin Rashid.
Nawaz was to give a victory speech but after receiving ‘the shock news’ he left in furry, the PML-N insider said.
PTI senior leader and close aide to Imran Khan Zulfi Bukhari said on X (formerly Twitter): "Counting is being stopped and results are being changed at many places! Mainly Punjab. This is the second half of counting & the point when manipulation takes place while #PTI is clearly leading. Is the world watching?" PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari said on X: “Results are incredibly slow coming in. However, initial results are very encouraging! PPP candidates and independents whom we have supported/ engaged with seem to be doing well! Let’s see what the final tally is in the end...” 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 next government.
Khan, 71, is jailed on corruption charges and is barred from standing. He is serving at least 14 years in prison, having been sentenced in three separate cases in the space of five days last week. He still faces over 140 charges in different cases.
As the government has shut down mobile and internet services in the country the voters were facing problems in casting their votes. PTI MZ AMS