Polling time ended in Pakistan’s hotly contested 11th general elections at 6pm on Wednesday and hours later — with counting of votes still underway — PTI supporters across the country started early celebrations in anticipation of their party’s victory amid allegations of fraud by the former ruling PML-N and other political parties.
Preliminary, unofficial results started coming in sporadically from 7pm onward after a long and eventful day of voting. A clear lead, however, had not emerged by early Thursday morning as the Election Commission of Pakistan reported “technical difficulties”.
Holding a press conference at 4am on Thursday, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Muhammad Raza Khan congratulated the people of Pakistan for participating in a “democratic polling process”, and expressed gratitude for the polling staff across the country as well as the security personnel deployed on Wednesday.
“I am aware that the delay in announcement of results has caused some annoyance. But it [Results Transmission System (RTS)] was a new system and we were implementing it for the first time. Therefore, there was some delay,” said the CEC.
Regarding political parties’ grievances about polling agents not being given Form 45, he said: “It is not possible that a polling agent was not given the form. If there are any genuine complaints, we will take strict action.”
To a question asking him how he would respond to allegations of rigging in the election, the CEC confidently replied: “We will prove ourselves that we did our job right.”
He announced what he called the “first non-official, preliminary result” of the elections: PTI’s Chaudhry Adnan won PP-11 (Rawalpindi VI) with 43,089 votes.