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Multiple booths in Pakistan face repolling amid 'rigging' allegations and protests

Despite ongoing vote counting, supporters from various political parties, including Imran Khan's PTI, protested against what they deemed as rigged election results.

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Annesha Barua
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PTC News Desk: Protests erupted in Pakistan over alleged election rigging as vote counting faced delays. Supporters of Imran Khan's PTI and other parties demonstrated nationwide amid uncertainty.

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The general elections on February 8 in Pakistan saw protests from various political factions, including Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). Allegations of rigging surfaced as vote counting progressed slowly, heightening political tensions in the country.

With no clear winner emerging, Nawaz Sharif, leader of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and former Prime Minister, claimed victory for his party, despite lacking the necessary majority. Sharif invited coalition partners to form a government. Meanwhile, Imran Khan, another former Prime Minister and Sharif's rival, also asserted victory and expressed interest in leading the government.

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Latest updates on Pakistan election results

Gohar Ali Khan, PTI chairman and Imran Khan's lawyer, emphasised the importance of upholding the people's mandate by all institutions in Pakistan. Imran Khan, currently incarcerated, is anticipated to determine the country's next Prime Minister.

PTI announced plans for peaceful protests outside returning officer's offices if election results weren't released by Saturday night.

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According to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), independent candidates backed by PTI unexpectedly won over 100 seats, surpassing Sharif's PML-N with 72 seats. The PPP, led by Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, secured 54 seats primarily in Sindh.

Remaining seats in the 266-member National Assembly were yet to be declared, with delays attributed to technical glitches, internet disruptions, and sporadic terrorist activities.

Imran Khan's PTI faced significance as it contested as independents due to ECP's symbol ban. Amidst political negotiations, PML-N and PPP discussed forming a coalition government.

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Despite PTI-backed independents' victories, Pakistan's electoral laws mandate them to join a party to form a government. Imran Khan asserted victory and criticised Sharif's strategies in his speech.

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President Arif Alvi advocated for electronic voting machines (EVMs) to prevent electoral uncertainty. Various parties filed petitions over alleged rigging, prompting scrutiny from international observers.

Pakistan Army Chief praised the election's conduct and urged for stability, dismissing claims of military interference. The US, UK, and EU expressed concerns over rigging allegations, emphasising the need for transparent and democratic processes. To secure a government, a party must attain 133 seats out of 265 in the National Assembly, with an overall requirement of 169 seats, including reserved slots.

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(Inputs from agencies)

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