Surprise victory for Imran Khan’s affiliates in Pakistan election

Independent candidates, mainly supporters of Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, secured the most seats in Pakistan’s National Assembly during the general elections, outperforming expectations amidst a slow vote count and accusations of election tampering.

The Election Commission of Pakistan reported that independent candidates have captured 98 seats, with 22 seats still undecided. The bulk of these independents are linked to Khan’s PTI party.

The Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PMLN) party, anticipated to dominate the election, currently holds 69 seats, making it second. The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) follows with 51 seats. The remaining 22 seats won’t suffice for the PMLN, led by ex-Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, or the PPP to surpass the leading party. Consequently, none of Pakistan’s three major parties will secure the 169 seats needed for a majority in parliament, leaving the future prime minister’s identity uncertain.

An AI-generated speech by Khan, who has been imprisoned since August, was released on Friday, in which he declared victory and urged his followers to safeguard their vote.

Despite being incarcerated, Khan has continued to communicate with his supporters through AI technology, expressing gratitude for their overwhelming turnout at the polls.

Sharif, a former Prime Minister of Pakistan and Khan’s rival, contended that his PMLN party had obtained the most significant number of seats but acknowledged the lack of a majority to form a government alone, indicating a search for coalition partners. Sharif, whose previous term was cut short by a military coup, is thought to be the military’s preferred candidate, though the military has denied any favoritism.