Suicide bombing halts campaigning while khan leads: Pakistan’s 2018 Election

File Photo: Suicide Bombing in Pakistan/IE

A systematic count of half the votes polled so far from Wednesday’s parliamentary election revealed that ex-cricketing hero Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party is in the lead.

Amidst various allegations that some of the polling stations have been rigged by Khan’s rivals, the party is expected to fall short of an overall majority and is envisaged to seek to form a coalition with some allies. However, the polling and campaigning formalities were suspended after a suicide bombing outside a crowded polling station, killed over 31 people in the south-western city of Quetta. It further wounded 35 people, many of whom are reported to be in critical condition.

Imran Khan, who captained Pakistan to a World Cup victory in 1992, has over time lost his celebrity and public hero image and recently faced accusations from multiple institutions within Pakistan of allegedly receiving assistance from the military to ensure his political victory, raising concerns regarding military interference in elections.

With the number of votes assessed at nearly 49% of total stations, Khan’s PTI party was in the lead with 119 of the 272 National Assembly constituencies being contested for. These statistics were courtesy of the Election Commission in Pakistan. At least 137 seats are required to form a government with a majority vote.

This election is only the second time that there is being a transition from one civilian government to the other after completion of a full term in Pakistan. However, there has been a host of other parties who have rejected the results so far as they fear the polls are rigged. These host of parties notably includes ex-Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s PML-N party. Shahbaz Sharif, the brother of the ex-Prime Minister slammed the way the people’s mandate was being insulted in his view.


*Rayan Bhattacharya is a Research Intern at The Kootneeti

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