Pakistan elections 2018: All the latest updates

PTI chief Imran Khan declared victory in the general elections as results started trickling in a day after the vote.

Khan’s PTI, or Pakistan Movement for Justice, maintained a commanding lead with nearly half the votes counted from Wednesday’s election.

A majority of 137 seats is needed to form a government.

Millions of Pakistanis flocked to polling stations to exercise their ballot amid violence, including a suicide attack in western city of Quetta that claimed at least 31 lives.

Live results

Here are the latest updates:

Cricket fraternity says congrats

 

Pakistan-India talks on the cards?

  • PTI leader Imran Khan said he wants “trade ties” with India, adding that leaders of both countries should talk to resolve the Kashmir dispute. 
  • “I say this with conviction that it is in the interest of the subcontinent that India and Pakistan get along,” he said in his speech. “Take one step towards us, we will take two steps towards you. We need to have a dialogue to settle our issues.”

‘We will run Pakistan like it’s never been run before’

  • Read Imran Khan’s speech in full here.
  • PTI chief Imran Khan, in a speech on Thursday, said the elections have given him a chance to fulfill his dream for Pakistan.
  • “I started this struggle 22 years ago and thankfully today I have been given a chance to fulfil what I dreamt for the country,” said Khan.
  • “We will run Pakistan like it’s never been run before.”
  • “We are going to uplift Pakistan’s poor and help our country’s labourers. Corruption has been eating Pakistan like a kind of cancer. We will set an example that the law will be the same for everybody.”

  • Khan tells India: “Take one step towards us, we will take two steps towards you. We need to have a dialogue to settle our issues.”
Imran Khan making his speech in Islamabad [Al Jazeera]

PTI chief Khan to address nation shortly

PML-N leader Shehbaz meets jailed Nawaz 

  • Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Shehbaz Sharif has met his brother, Nawaz Sharif, former party leader and a three-time prime minister in jail.

  • The meeting at Rawalpindi’s Adiala jail lasted for 30 minutes, local media Dawn News reported.

Voters react to partial results

Instability or reconciliation?

  • “One thing is clear that Imran Khan is headed for victory and is likely to be the next prime minister of Pakistan,” said Al Jazeera’s Kamal Hyder, reporting from the capital, Islamabad.

  • “But it will be important to see how the political opposition is going to react to this,” he added.

  • “Is this going to lead to more political instability or are the politicians going to reconcile with the idea that they have suffered a major defeat; that the traditional parties have been booted out and a new party, which is promising accountability and change, has been voted in by a vast majority of the Pakistani electorate.”

Social media reaction

  • Former cricket players, athletes and celebrity musicians have congratulated PTI’s Khan for his performance at the country’s general elections on social media. 

  • “This is the result of 22 years of conviction, relentless efforts, determination and not giving up!” said former fast-bowler and national cricket team player Shoaib Akhtar. 

Imran Khan speech at 11:00GMT

  • PTI chairman Imran Khan is due to give a speech at 4pm local time (11:00GMT) from the capital, Islamabad, according to state-run media PTV. 

Official results trickle in 

  • The first set of official results by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) have started to trickle in, based on a 100 percent vote count.

  • Follow all the results on our live interactive map.

Early celebrations 

  • Supporters of Khan’s PTI kicked off early celebrations in different cities on Wednesday night, with the centrist party leading in the projected, preliminary tally announced on local television channels.

PTI supporters celebrate projected unofficial results in Islamabad [BK Bangash/AP] 

Imran Khan supporters wave PTI flags in the capital [Athit Perawongmetha/Reuters]

 

Khan led Pakistan to its first and only cricket World Cup victory in 1992 [KM Chaudary/AP] 
  • With 48 percent of the total vote counted, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) led by cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan was listed by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) as leading in 113 of 272 contested National Assembly constituencies, Reuters news agency reported.

  • Shehbaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) was ahead in 64 constituencies, and the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), headed by the son of assassinated two-time Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, led in 42 constituencies.

  • “According to the latest information we have, PTI has swept the polls in the northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province,” said Al Jazeera’s Kamal Hyder, reporting from the capital, Islamabad.

  • They’re [PTI] also in a very strong position in the Punjab provincial assembly and have so far, received the largest number of votes in the National Assembly, which is the lower house of parliament,” he added.

‘No conspiracy’

  • A top Pakistani election official said there is “no conspiracy” in the delay in announcing official results for the election, but instead technical issues are to blame. 
  • “There’s no conspiracy, nor any pressure in delay of the results,” Babar Yaqoob, secretary of the Election Commission of Pakistan, told reporters on Thursday. “The delay is being caused because the result transmission system has collapsed.”

Technical issue delaying results

  • The delay in announcing the official results is due to a technical issue with the Results Transmission System (RTS), according to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).
  • “We were supposed to get 85,000 forms through the RTS but only 25,000 managed to come through,” Babar Yaqoob, the ECP secretary, told reporters before adding that forms bearing results from the polling stations would be transported by road to the Returning Officers. “We havent’t received a single result yet.”

PML-N to ‘reject’ vote count

  • Shehbaz Sharif, the PML-N chief, has announced his party would reject the vote count in the general election due to alleged rigging.

 

  • “Today, we thought that the elections would allow people to act with their free will … but when polling ended, and after that what we saw happen, I think that I have never seen anything as horrific as this in my political career,” Shehbaz told reporters in Lahore.
  • “Today what has happened, we are taking Pakistan 30 years into the past. This kind of public mandate, of millions of people who voted in all of Pakistan, that mandate has been disrespected and dishonoured.”
  • “We completely reject this result, completely.”
  • Meanwhile, Pakistan Peoples Party leader Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has questioned the delay in announcing the first set of official results.

While you wait…

  • Here is the Pakistan election 2018 at a glance: 
 

Results to be in ‘soon’

  • The Election Commission of Pakistan Secretary, while addressing the delay, said the results will be shared as soon as they are in.
  • “We want to give you accurate results and we will have them as soon as they are in,” Babar Yaqoob told reporters. 
  • Pakistan Television, the state tv, has put the PTI in the lead on 105 seats with the PML-N ahead on 71 seats after partial results.

Local media projections

  • Early projections from four local TV channels have put Imran Khan’s PTI in the lead, estimating it would win between 94 and 102 of 272 elected seats available. 
  • However, those projections were based on only about 10-15 percent of votes counted. The first official results are yet to be announced by the election commission.
PTI supporters celebrate following the end of the polling in the general elections. Local media, projecting results from the partial and unofficial results, are showing PTI in an early lead [Muhammad Reza/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images]

The wait goes on

  • While the nation awaits official results from the Election Commission of Pakistan, there is hope and optimism among Pakistanis for what the future holds following the historic elections.

And some outside Pakistan…

Counting under way

  • Counting of votes is under way and unofficial results from various constituencies are being announced by local media. Visit our live results page for all the official results announced by Election Commission of Pakistan.
Election officials count ballots in Islamabad after polls closed during the general elections [Athit Perawongmetha/Reuters]

Polls close

Notice sent to Imran Khan

  • Pakistan Election Commission has issued a notice to PTI chairman Imran Khan saying his vote could be disqualified after he cast his ballot in front of television cameras, violating “the secrecy of the ballot paper”.

View from the ground

‘High turnout expected’

  • Shiraz Khan Paracha, director of Abdul Wali Khan University Mardan, said the “horrific” suicide attack in Quetta, which killed at least 29 people, has not deterred people from voting.

  • “What we are observing is that despite the very serious incident, people are still coming to the polling stations, there are long queues all across Pakistan and the expectation is that this time the turnout could be even higher than the previous elections,” he told Al Jazeera in an interview from Islamabad, the country’s capital.

Voices from the streets of Lahore:

  • Al Jazeera’s Asad Hashim spoke to voters in the eastern city of Lahore, Punjab:

  • “As long as there is corruption, how can there be development?” asked Waqas Jamshed, 30, who owns a fast food restaurant and is a PTI supporter.

    Waqas Jamshed, PTI voter and restaurant owner [Asad Hashim/Al Jazeera]
  • “With the PML-N, we see them doing some work,” said Shahid Bashir, 50, who has been driving a rickshaw in Lahore for the last 18 years. He has always supported the PML-N. 

  • Look, everyone steals a bit, but at least with the PML-N we can see the work being done,” Bashir added.

  • “Now our army, our intelligence agencies and the judiciary are taking sides in politics, they have become touts for PTI,” another PML-N voter, Tariq Ateeq Sheikh, 50, alleged, echoing widespread allegations that the country’s powerful military has applied pressure on politicians ahead of the polls. 

    Shahid Bashir, PML-N voter [Asad Hashim/Al Jazeera]
  • Younis Naseeb, 42, a tailor in Lahore’s NA-131 constituency, split his vote, backing the PML-N’s Khawaja Saad Rafique against Khan for the National Assembly, but voting for the PPP candidate for the Punjab provincial assembly seat from the same area.

  • “I changed my vote for the provincial assembly because I wanted to see change of some kind. We may as well give them a chance. 

  • “Now our army, our intelligence agencies and the judiciary are taking sides in politics, they have become touts for the PTI,” the PML-N voter alleged, echoing widespread allegations that the country’s powerful military has applied pressure on politicians ahead of the polls.

  • At least 29 people, including two policemen, have been killed and more than 40 wounded after a bomb explosion near a polling station hit a police van in the southwestern city of Quetta. 

  • Waseem Baig, spokesperson for the Quetta civil hospital, confirmed the death toll to Al Jazeera from the blast in the eastern bypass area of Quetta.

  • “There was already a high threat alert,” said Al Jazeera’s Kamal Hyder, reporting from the capital, Islamabad. “Importantly, what we are told at this point is that the suicide bomber was a motorcyclist.”

 

The explosion occurred hours after polls opened in Quetta [Saadullah Akhtar/Al Jazeera]

Imran Khan votes in Islamabad

Imran Khan arrives at a polling station during the general election in Islamabad [Athit Perawongmetha/Reuters]
  • PTI chairman Imran Khan has cast his ballot in the capital, Islamabad.

  • Talking to the media after voting, the former cricketer urged the entire nation to come out and exercise their right to vote. 

  • “Today I urge all of Pakistan to get out and vote; just vote for any party,” he told reporters. “This is the most important election in this country’s history. It’s an opportunity to defeat the status quo.”

Shooting in Swabi

  • A shooting between supporters of two opposing political parties has left one person dead and wounded two people in a village near the northwestern city of Swabi, police said. 

  • Police officer Khalid Hamdani told Associated Press news agency it is unclear what triggered the shootout between a group of supporters of the secular Awami National Party (ANP), which has often been targeted by the Taliban, and the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) led by former cricket star Imran Khan, a centre-right party.

‘High-stakes election’ 

  • “We’ve already seen people turning up early here in Islamabad, so that they can get over with voting,” said Al Jazeera’s Kamal Hyder, reporting from the capital, Islamabad. 

  • “It is indeed a tough-fought election. There is still a lot at stake. All three mainstream political parties are saying that they are gong to get a high number of votes and seats, but the people of Pakistan will make that ultimate decision.”

Voting under way in Lahore

Amna Bibi, PTI voter [Asad Hashim/Al Jazeera] 
  • Amna Bibi, 74, says she is voting for the PTI in Lahore’s NA-125 constituency, as she believes Imran Khan can bring change to Pakistan.

  • “He is a man that you can look in the eye,” she told Al Jazeera. “Everyone deserves a chance in power.”

  • Rabia Nusrat, 45, says she is voting for PML-N in Lahore’s NA-125 constituency because she believes party leader Nawaz Sharif – jailed for corruption earlier this month – has been unjustly convicted.

  • “He is sick and sitting in Adiala jail. What need did he have to come back, if he was guilty he could have stayed abroad.”

PML-N leader Shehbaz Sharif in line at his local polling station in the NA130 constituency of Lahore [Asad Hashim/Al Jazeera] 

Polls open 

  • “Polls are now open across Pakistan in what will be a truly massive electoral exercise,” said Al Jazeera’s Asad Hashim, reporting from Lahore. 

  • “Some major story lines to watch for: Can Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf displace the dominant PML-N party of Nawaz Sharif from its political heartland of Punjab? If it does, it’ll have gone a long way towards securing the government. Read more here.” 

  • “Pakistan’s northwestern tribal areas vote for the first time as part of directly-governed Pakistan, after being merged with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province earlier this year. Which way will the tribal areas – where a widespread rights movement has challenged the status quo – vote?”

  • “In Karachi, Pakistan’s largest metropolis, the hold of the dominant Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) party appears to have been broken by a sustained paramilitary operation that has targeted the party’s criminal enterprises. So will the sprawling metropolis of more than 18 million still vote for MQM, or can other parties finally gain a foothold there for the first time in 30 years?”

  • “Follow Al Jazeera’s reporters in Lahore, Karachi, Islamabad and elsewhere as we provide you reporting from on the ground throughout the day.”

Tuesday, July 24

Deadly attack

  • Pakistani intelligence officials say attackers killed four troops escorting an election convoy in the volatile southwestern province of Baluchistan. Two intelligence officials told The Associated Press the soldiers were escorting a convoy with election staffers and voting material on Tuesday in the district of Turbat when they came under attack.
  • The officials say the assailants first fired rocket-propelled grenades as the convoy passed through the Niwano area, then shot at troops with automatic weapons. Three army soldiers and a member of the paramilitary force were killed.
  • Thirteen people – eight soldiers, a member of the paramilitary force, and four civilians – were wounded. Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to speak to the media.

Tight security 

  • Security has been stepped up in the country after a series of deadly attacks targeting candidates or campaign workers ahead of the polls. 

  • About 800,000 security personnel, including more than 370,000 army soldiers, are on duty to ensure security on election day, according to Pakistan’s Election Commission.

  • The process of deploying troops across the country to conduct free, fair and transparent elections was completed on Tuesday, the government said on Twitter.

  • “Voter turnout is expected to be high, but the security concerns are going to be paramount,” said Al Jazeera’s Kamal Hyder, reporting from the capital, Islamabad.
 

Final preparations 

  • Election material including ballot boxes, seals, polling booths, ink, ballot papers and other necessary items were delivered to polling stations countrywide on Tuesday.

  • Around 1.6 million electoral staff are expected to be on duty on election day.

WATCH: Election countdown begins in Pakistan

Last day of campaigning

  • Electioneering officially came to a close on Monday night, with all the major parties making one final push to convince voters. 

  • No public campaigning is allowed 24 hours before the polls open in Pakistan. 

  • PTI’s Khan held a series of rallies in the eastern city of Lahore, PML-N’s political heartland. 

  • PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif also addressed a rally in the central town of Dera Ghazi Khan, Punjab, urging the nation to “give respect to the vote”, a party rallying cry that refers to their allegation that the military and judiciary have been interfering in the political process.

Press freedom concerns

  • The run-up to the polls has been marred by widespread allegations of pre-poll engineering and censorship of the press by the military.

  • On Monday, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) said journalists in the country faced a sustained and concerted series of curbs, including disruptions and closures of the country’s top news organisations.

  • “Overall, continuing intimidation and the perceived need to self-censor has severely hampered objective journalism,” the HRCP report said.

  • It documented instances where television channels had been forced off the air, as well as how news coverage of Sharif’s conviction was shaped by the “establishment”, a common euphemism in Pakistan for the military and intelligence services.

 

SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies

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