Asia - Pacific

Watchdog says voter turnout in Pakistan elections around 47%

Nearly 60M of about 129M voters took part in polling process, according to FAFEN

Amir Latif  | 10.02.2024 - Update : 10.02.2024
Watchdog says voter turnout in Pakistan elections around 47%

KARACHI, Pakistan

Some 60 million out of nearly 129 million registered voters cast their ballots in Pakistan's Feb. 8 general elections, an independent polls watchdog said on Saturday, indicating the voter turnout to be around 47%.

The figure was released by the Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) in its premilitary observation report on the vote. The official voting percentage, however, is yet to be released.

Mossarat Qadeem, the chairperson of FAFEN, said transparency has been observed at polling stations but its polls were "compromised" at the office of returning (polling) officer, or RO.

"There was transparency at the polling stations but it was compromised at the ROs offices," she told reporters.

Qadeem said cell phone and mobile internet suspension also caused harm to the polls.

According to provisional results, independent candidates, mostly backed by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party of jailed ex-Prime Minister Imran Khan have won 100 out of a total of 266 seats of the lower house or the National Assembly, followed by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz of three-time Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif getting 73, and center-left Pakistan People's Party 54.

A party requires 169 seats in the 336-member lower house to form the government with a simple majority.

PTI claims majority in national assembly

PTI interim chief Barrister Gohar Khan claimed a majority in the National Assembly and said Pakistani President Arif Alvi will invite them to form the government.

"So far, we are leading on 170 seats of the National Assembly and ECP (Election Commission of Pakistan) admitted 94 as the remaining results have been changed," Khan told reporters in Islamabad.

He added that his party will also form the government in the Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces (KP).

In KP, PTI-backed candidates won 90 seats out of 112, while 137 candidates also secured seats in Punjab out of 295. But PMLN also won 137 seats so far in Punjab.

Talking about the reserved seats in the National Assembly and Provincial Assemblies, Khan said PTI will soon announce its strategy.

Earlier, reports indicated that PTI-backed independents were planning to join the Majlis Wahdat-e-Muslimeen (MWM), a religious party.

However, Khan said joining the MWM or any other party will be decided after the final results.

However, he urged the authorities to respect the public mandate and refrain from creating any hurdles for PTI in forming governments in the center and provinces.

Khan accused the election officers of allegedly changing the results of winning candidates. He announced a countrywide peaceful protest on Sunday in all those districts where the results were changed by returning officers.

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