Pakistan election: Both Nawaz Sharif and Imran Khan declare victory

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Nawaz Sharif (right) and Iran Khan claim victory in the Pakistan election amid delayed results and militant attacks.

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, Feb 10: In a tumultuous aftermath of Pakistan’s elections, both former prime ministers and arch-rivals Nawaz Sharif and Imran Khan have asserted triumph despite a backdrop of delayed results and militant violence, further plunging the nation into political uncertainty.

Sharif’s party secured the highest number of seats for a single party in Thursday’s election. However, supporters of Khan, who contested independently after his party was barred from the polls, clinched the most seats overall.

Addressing the nation from his stronghold in Lahore, Sharif disclosed plans to form a coalition government, acknowledging the necessity due to his party’s failure to secure an outright majority.

The election aftermath witnessed a prolonged tallying process, with more than three-quarters of the seats declared over 24 hours post-polling, which was marred by militant attacks claiming 28 lives.

Independents, predominantly backed by Khan, emerged with the majority of seats, highlighting the fractured nature of the outcome. Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) secured 69 seats, while the Pakistan People’s Party of Bilawal Bhutto Zardari claimed 51.

In a digitally disseminated message, Khan contested Sharif’s assertions of victory, urging his supporters to celebrate their purported win while decrying alleged rigging in the polls.

Khan, a former cricket star, has been incarcerated since August, facing multiple convictions leading up to the election. Sharif, on the other hand, returned from exile late last year, aiming for a political resurgence.

The delayed announcement of results rattled markets, with Karachi’s stock index and Pakistan’s sovereign bonds witnessing a downturn due to heightened uncertainty.

Analysts speculate that a coalition government, a likely outcome given the fragmented results, may exacerbate Pakistan’s economic challenges, especially regarding negotiations with the IMF for a bailout program.

As the nation grapples with this contentious electoral outcome, concerns loom over its ability to navigate through entrenched political divisions and mounting economic woes, posing significant challenges to its stability and future trajectory.

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