A group of Pakistani political parties announced Friday a protest demanding new elections following allegations of rigging in this week's nationwide polls that were won by cricket hero Imran Khan's party.
"We will run a movement for holding of elections again. There will be protests," said Maulana Fazalur Rehman from the All Parties Conference, which included outgoing ruling party, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz.
In attendance at the multi-party conference were Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) chief Senator Sirajul Haq, Sindh Governor Mohammad Zubair, Gilgit-Baltistan Chief Minister Hafeezur Rehman, Azad Jammu and Kashmir Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider, Awami National Party chief Asfandyar Wali Khan, Qaumi Watan Party chairman Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao, National Party's Senator Mir Hasil Bizenjo and several MMA leaders.
PML-N leaders Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Ayaz Sadiq, Marriyum Aurangzeb, Chaudhry Tanveer and Khurram Dastagir and Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP) leaders Mustafa Kamal, Raza Haroon and Waseem Ahmed also participated.
Cricket hero Imran Khan has swept to an emphatic victory in a Pakistan election criticised by foreign observers Friday, but without a majority he will need to enter a coalition to take power in the nuclear-armed country.
The pivotal election has been branded "Pakistan's dirtiest", after widespread claims in the months leading up to the vote that the powerful military was trying to fix the playing field in Khan's favour.
European Union election observers expressed concerns that there was 'a notable lack in equality of opportunity' in the vote, which was 'not as good' as the country's previous election in 2013.
But for now, Khan's victory represents an end to decades of rotating leadership between the PML-N and the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) that was punctuated by periods of military rule.
The Election Commission (ECP) said Friday that with only a handful of seats left to count, Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) enjoys a strong lead with 116 seats, and will be the biggest party in parliament.
The count indicates PTI will not achieve the 137 seats needed in the National Assembly to form a majority government in its own right.
Analysts had long predicted that if Khan took power it would have to be via coalition — but the size of his lead still took many by surprise, and helped fuel suspicion over vote rigging.
But analyst Ayesha Siddiqa said observers may have underestimated the depth of feeling among Pakistan's growing middle class.
"Remember they grew up on this narrative of a corrupt Pakistan being damaged and needing a new leadership... In all this hue and cry, we didn't notice there is another Pakistan there that wanted this change," she said.
Khan campaigned on promises to end widespread graft while building an "Islamic welfare state".
Now the former World Cup cricket champion will have to partner with independents and smaller parties, a task analysts said should be straightforward.
"That will not be a problem... The independents know that the establishment is inclined toward Imran Khan," retired general and analyst Talat Masood said, using a word widely understood in Pakistan to mean the military.
With inputs from agencies
Updated Date: Jul 28, 2018 00:02 AM