ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz President Shahbaz Sharif ejected early election results Thursday that suggested Imran Khan was on his way to becoming the country’s next prime minister, alleging “blatant” rigging. Sharif dismissed results from Wednesday’s nationwide poll as counting was still underway.
“Today what they have done has pushed Pakistan back 30 years… We reject this result,” Sharif, the brother of Pakistan’s jailed ex-leader Nawaz Sharif, told a press conference in Lahore. Shortly before he spoke state television said that just one fifth of the votes had been counted so far.
Other parties including the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) also alleged the count was being manipulated.
“My candidates complaining polling agents have been thrown out of polling stations across the country,” tweeted PPP leader Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, adding: “Inexcusable & outrageous”.
The Election Commission’s secretary Babar Yaqoob earlier flatly denied allegations of vote count manipulation.
With the count still a long way to go, PTI supporters are already celebrating in cities across the country, including Lahore, Islamabad, Multan and Rawalpindi, with fireworks, dancing and reports of celebratory gunshots. “Imran is honest.
He is a cool leader,” first-time voter Ammar Haider, 20, told AFP at a street celebration in Islamabad.—AFP