Pakistan Election: Rival Leaders Claim Victory, EU, UK, US Cast Doubt on Vote Integrity

Lahore, Pakistan: Two former prime ministers of Pakistan declared victory in the country’s general election, held Thursday under tight security, while international observers raised concerns about the fairness and inclusivity of the poll.

Nawaz Sharif, leader of the Pakistan Muslim League (PML), claimed victory despite his party falling short of a majority in early results. Meanwhile, Imran Khan, the jailed leader of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), claimed victory for his party’s independent candidates in an AI-generated video message.

With nearly 90% of the votes counted, PTI-backed independents had secured 95 seats, followed by PML with 66 seats. A majority of 169 seats is required to form a government.

Sharif admitted the need for a coalition and called on other parties, including Khan’s, to join him. “We don’t want to fight,” he said. “We have to sit together to settle all matters.”

Khan rejected Sharif’s claim and urged his supporters to celebrate. He also criticized interference in the election process, which saw many PTI candidates forced to run as independents due to legal restrictions.

Adding to the controversy, the European Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States all voiced concerns about the election’s integrity. They cited limited participation, potential interference, and restrictions on certain parties as key issues.

Lord Cameron, UK Foreign Secretary, stated, “We have serious concerns about the fairness and lack of inclusivity of the elections.”

The US State Department expressed concerns about “restrictions on freedom of expression and assembly” and called for investigating reported irregularities.

The EU urged authorities to ensure “a timely and full investigation” of all reported irregularities.

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