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As a Pakistan Finish Vote Count, Imran Khan's rivals stand



LAHORE, Pakistan – On Friday, as Pakistan approached the end of a long and controversial vote-counting process, political rivals of Imran Khan, leader of the victorious party, reluctantly accepted that he would become Pakistan's next prime minister.

Mr. Khan's party, the Pakistani Justice Movement, swept most of the country, played heavily in urban areas and has so far won 116 seats in parliament, compared with 64 for the second place party, known as P.M.L.N. On Friday, the National Electoral Commission had counted the votes for 264 of the 269 seats that were contested on Wednesday. Khan, a former cricket star who has been seeking a higher office for 20 years, was the favorite candidate of the Pakistani military. Human rights groups and many analysts have said that in the months leading up to the election, military and intelligence officials threatened and blackmailed politicians in rival factions to join Mr. Khan and clear the way for his victory. Mr. Khan has denied this.

Analysts have also said that the military intends to eliminate Pakistan's last prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, who was imprisoned by an anti-corruption court shortly before the election because he had challenged his influence on foreigners and security policy. Many of the candidates who joined Mr. Khan's ticket came from Mr. Sharif's party, the PML-N.

Hamza Shahbaz Sharif, one of the leaders of the PML-N and the nephew of Mr. Sharif, said that his party had many complaints about how the election had gone and that on Wednesday night some observers of the party were illegally prevented to see the counted votes.

But his party is not planning to boycott the results and has instead decided "We do not want to disrupt the democratic process in Pakistan," Hamza said, "to become part of the political opposition to the Khan party in the National Assembly. "

"The country faces many challenges, so all parties should work together in harmony to ensure that the country does not suffer."

In Pakistan, analysts say, this is considered a concession speech. In the political dynasty, he finished third with 43 seats and said on Friday that it was not yet decided if he should accept the official results. Khan's rivals have raised allegations of electoral fraud and expressed their suspicions about the slow electoral table election, which has taken more than two days. Election officers apologized, saying that the delay had been caused by a meltdown in their computer systems that disrupted the transmission of results on election night.

Reports were submitted by Salman Masood in Islamabad and Daniyal Hassan and Meher Ahmad in Lahore.


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