Counting on votes is underway, a day after polls were marred by violence and internet shut down, Pakistan voted to elect its new government on February 8, 2024. So far, results on only 12 of the 256 contested seats have been announced officially. Jailed Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf (PTI) party back independents were leading in a number of constituencies across the country, giving a tough challenge to Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) in its stronghold in Punjab.
Five seats were secured by candidates backed by Imran Khan, who were contesting as independents, while four were won by PML-N, the party of Nawaz Sharif. Three seats were won by Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) of Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, the son of assassinated premier Benazir Bhutto.
A country wide public holiday was declared to enable more than 12 crore voters to cast their ballots. The counting of votes began after the polls and the results from individual polling stations started to pour in after the mandatory one-hour restriction ended.
At least five Pakistani policemen were killed and two more were injured in a terrorist attack in Dera Ismail Khan Disrtrict while polling was underway on February 8, 2024. Mobile phone services were also temporarily suspended to strengthen security as the polls were underway.
In total 266 National Assembly seats were up for grabs after a candidate was killed in a gun attack in Bajaur. Another 60 seats are reserved for women and 10 for minorities and are allotted to the winning parties based on proportional representation.
On February 9, 2024, the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf (PTI) said that the unprecedented voter turn out has stunned the entire system and attempts were being made to alter the poll results. Khan’s PTI alleged that election results are now being withheld fearing the historic victory of the party.
“Supporters of Tehreek-i-Insaaf have shocked and worried the entire system with the historic turnout fearing the victory of PTI is now withholding the results and altering Form 45, the party posted on X, the same day. “Pakistanis protect your vote, go to polling stations RO offices and stop manipulation of results,” it said.
On February 9, 2024, the UN Chief and Secretary General Antonio Guterres urged political leaders and society segments to maintain a calm atmosphere as the results of elections were being tabulated. “As Pakistan awaits the results of elections, I encourage political leaders and society segments to maintain a calm atmosphere, the Secretary General said in a statement to a Pakistan based media organisation. “I am also concerned about reports and incidents of violence and casualties, and the suspension of mobile communications services as well as refrain from use of violence and ay actions that could lead to tensions,” the UN Chief said.