'Independent' Pakistan

Independent Pakistan

Imran Khan's party-backed independent candidates lead in Pakistan elections

Islamabad: Jailed ex-Pakistan premier Imran Khan's party-backed independent candidates on Friday sprung a surprise by winning 86 seats out of the 201 results declared following unusual delays and allegations of rigging, as the country appeared heading towards a hung assembly. Votes are still being counted after Thursday's general election which was marred by allegations of rigging, sporadic violence and a countrywide mobile phone shutdown. There were dozens of parties in the fray but the main contest was among Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), whose candidates are running as independents, former three-time premier Nawaz Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Bilawal Bhutto Zardari's Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP). To form a government, a party must win 133 seats out of 265 in the National Assembly. Election to one seat was postponed after the death of a candidate. Overall, 169 seats are needed to secure a simple majority out of its total 336 seats, which include the reserved slots for women and minorities.

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) data shows that results of 201 constituencies have been declared, which include 86 independents (mostly supported by PTI), PML-N 59, PPP 44 and 12 seats going to smaller parties. PTI candidates are running as independents after they were not allowed to use the party symbol - a cricket 'bat'. PTI chairman Barrister Gohar Khan on Friday ruled out forging an alliance with the PPP and PML-N, saying his party is in a position to form a federal government on its own. He claimed that his party was winning 150 National Assembly seats and would be able to achieve the required number of seats to form government at the Centre.

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