Aide of Pakistan ex-PM Imran Khan says party aims to form government, wants election

ISLAMABAD: Candidates backed by former Pakistani prime minister Imran Khan’s party plan to form a government, a senior aide to the jailed politician said on Saturday (Feb 10), calling on supporters to peacefully protest if final election results were not released.

The nuclear-armed South Asian nation voted on Thursday in a general election, as the country struggles to recover from an economic crisis and battles militant violence in a deeply polarised political environment.

Both Khan and three-time former prime minister Nawaz Sharif declared victory on Friday.

Gohar Khan, the chairman of Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-Insaf (PTI) party who also acts as the former premier’s lawyer, called on “all institutions” in Pakistan to respect his party’s mandate.

At a media conference, he said if complete results of the polls were not released by Saturday night, the party would hold peaceful protests on Sunday outside government offices returning election results around the country.

Pakistan’s army chief had congratulated the country on Saturday for the “successful conduct” of its national elections, saying the nation needed “stable hands” to move on from the politics of “anarchy and polarisation”.

Pakistan Chief of Army Staff Asim Munir “wishes that these elections bring in political and economic stability and prove to be the harbinger of peace and prosperity,” according to a statement released by the media wing of the military. The United States, Britain and the European Union on Friday each expressed concerns about the electoral process, urging a probe into reported irregularities.

British Foreign Secretary David Cameron cited “serious concerns” that raised questions “about the fairness and lack of inclusivity of the elections”.

Pakistan’s foreign office countered the international criticisms on Saturday, saying they ignore the “undeniable fact” of Pakistan conducting elections successfully.

“It is our hope that the process will be concluded effectively and it will reflect the will of the people,” said former Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan, who is leading the Commonwealth team to observe Pakistan’s elections.

Jonathan called on those with grievances over the election to raise them in line with the laws of Pakistan.

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