The Pakistani opposition accused the country’s electoral authorities of trying to alter the results of Friday’s violent by-elections in favor of the ruling party.
The allegations arose on Saturday after Pakistan’s Election Commission withheld the results of a constituency in the northeastern province of Punjab, which early results showed was won by the Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N ) center-right.
The commission said in a statement that the results of the seat of the National Assembly were halted over “suspicion of falsifying the results” of the polling stations in the Daska district of Punjab, the main battlefield of Pakistan Tehreek -e-Insaf (PTI) and PML-N in polls.
“There is a suspicion of falsification in the results of 20 polling stations. Therefore, it is not possible to release the initial results without a full investigation, ”the statement read.
At least two people were killed and several injured in clashes between PTI and PML-N supporters in Friday’s poll, both accusing the other of being responsible for the violence.
Maryam Nawaz, vice president of PML-N and daughter of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, said on Twitter that “efforts are being made to steal a seat won by PML-N”.
She also shared a series of videos showing an unidentified election official and suspected PTI supporters trying to run away with “tons of votes.”
Denying the accusations, Prime Minister Imran Khan’s spokesman Shahbaz Gill said the PTI was also concerned about the results of the constituencies it had lost to the opposition.
The “hue and cry” of the PML-N, he said, is a clear indication that the party was defeated in a constituency it won in the 2018 general election.
Retreat in the stronghold of the ruling party
According to other unofficial results announced by the ECP, the PTI lost two seats in the Provincial Assembly, one in the Punjab and another in the northwestern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP).
Both seats were won by the PML-N.
The defeat at the KP – seen as the playground for the PTI and a province it rules for a second consecutive term – is a major setback for Prime Minister Khan’s party.
The PTI, however, managed to secure the seat of the National Assembly in the Kurram district northwest of the KP by a narrow margin.
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