ISLAMABAD – Former cricket star Imran Khan declared Thursday victory in parliamentary elections in Pakistan, vowing to lead the country "as never before" through anti-corruption and regional cooperation and a new relationship with forging the US, which was not "one-sided".
TV stations reported that Khan and its Tehreek-e-Insaf party, or PTI, retained a dominant lead from Wednesday's poll. However, his main rival, Shahbaz Sharif, rejected the result and pointed to allegations of electoral manipulation.
Pakistan's electoral commission struggled with technical issues and had to return to a manual count that delayed the announcement of the final results by Friday. It remained unclear whether the PTI should have a simple majority in the National Assembly or form a coalition government.
But this did not prevent 65-year-old Khan from proclaiming his triumph in a speech to the nation in which he pledged to create an Islamic welfare state to offer education and employment to the poor in order to campaign promises to create 1
"Today I preach to the Pakistani people before my eyes I will lead Pakistan as it has never done before," Khan said, vowing to eradicate corruption, strengthen institutions he dysfunctional, and regain national pride by developing international relations based on respect and equality.
While Khan appeared casual and conciliatory in his speech, his words were passionate. He said the United States treat Pakistan like a mercenary and give it billions of dollars to fight the war on terrorism in a region with militant extremists.
"Unfortunately, our relations have been one-sided, and America thinks there is money to fight Pakistan for Pakistan, which is why Pakistan has suffered a lot," said Khan, who was critical of the US-led conflict in neighboring Afghanistan ,
He offered nothing suggesting an improvement in Pakistan's already treacherous relations with President Donald Trump in January, which prompted Islamabad to seek US aid and return only lies and deceptions.
Khan turned to neighboring Pakistan and sought good relations with his neighbors. The two nuclear powers have led a longstanding conflict over the disputed Kashmir region.
"Take a step towards us and we will take two steps towards you," he said in a peace offer while continuing to condemn widespread human rights abuses in Kashmir
Khan also advocated a policy of open borders Afghanistan and even suggested that the two countries enter into a relationship of the "European Union". The plan seems unlikely, as the Pakistani military has built hundreds of border guards and an accompanying fence along its western border with Afghanistan, despite frequent opposition from Kabul.
Khan focused on what he wanted to do for the poor in Pakistan and Pakistan. The vision of a country that did not bow to anyone, where all were equal by law and taxes were paid by the rich to provide services to the less To finance happy ones.
His election campaign for a new Pakistan seemed to resonate with young voters, where 64 percent of his 200 million people are under 30.
Khan said the elections were most transparent and promised to investigate any complaint about irregularities raised by his opponents.
"It's God (that) won thanks and we were successful," he said.
More than a dozen TV channels predicted that the PTI would win 119 seats of the 270 National Assembly seats that were challenged, although broadcasters have not announced their methodology. The remainder of the 342-seat parliament includes seats for women and minorities. The election for two seats was postponed after one candidate died during the election campaign and another was disqualified.
Although human rights groups and minorities expressed concerns about radical religious groups before the vote, moderate votes seemed to have prevailed: none of the 265 candidates brought in by the banned Lashkar-e-Taiba won. This includes the son of the co-founder and US-designated terrorist Hafiz Saeed, who has a bounty of ten million dollars.
The candidates fought under the little-known Allah-o-Akbar Tehreek party because Lashkar-e-Taiba
Even if Khan's party wins a simple majority, he would have to wait for the president to convene the parliament swearing in new legislators – traditionally within a week.
He is also in opposition to the result of Sharif. He heads the Pakistan Muslim League, the party of his older brother, former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who is being arrested on corruption charges. TV projections give his party just under 61 seats.
The younger Sharif tweeted that "our democratic process was pushed back decades," adding that "if we had accepted the public mandate in a fair way, we would have liked it."
Complaints also came from the independent Human Rights Commission, which issued a statement that women were not allowed to vote in some areas.
In other areas it was said: "The election staff seemed to be biased towards a particular party," without elaborating. In the days before the election, main rights activist I.A. Rehman called the campaign "the dirtiest" on Pakistan's bumpy road to sustainable democracy.
Analysts have expressed their concern that disgruntled losers could create instability for the new government, which has to deal with a collapsing economy, crippling debt, and a raging militancy. 19659028] The vote was impacted by a suicide attack in the southwestern city of Quetta, the provincial capital of Balochistan, which killed 31 people waiting for the election warning. A bomb attack in the same province earlier this month killed 149 people, including a candidate for office. Baluchistan has been plagued by relentless attacks by both the secessionists of the province and Sunni militants who have killed hundreds of Shiites.
The elections marked the second time in Pakistan's 71-year history that one civilian government has passed power to another.
There were widespread concerns over the manipulation by the military that had ruled Pakistan, directly or indirectly, for most of its existence during the campaign. The military had stationed at the 85,000 polling stations 350,000 soldiers.
In a tweet designated the Pakistani military spokesman Gen. Asif Ghafoor's allegations of interference as "malicious propaganda".
Associated Press Writer Zarar Khan in Islamabad on this report.
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