Imran Khan’s supporters and other parties blocked highways to protest the recent controversial election results. Thousands of supporters of Pakistan’s convicted former PM Imran Khan and members of other political parties blocked major highways in Pakistan’s volatile southwest on Monday to protest rigging of last week’s election.
The commencement of a nationwide strike follows Thursday’s parliamentary vote, marked by allegations of electoral malpractice, an unprecedented mobile phone shutdown, and the exclusion of Imran Khan and his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Party (PTI). Despite the celebration of election winners, PTI and other parties remain adamant in their refusal to acknowledge defeat in numerous constituencies. Over the weekend, dozens of Khan’s supporters were briefly detained in Lahore during a protest against perceived vote-rigging.
Jan Achakzai, the occupying government spokesperson in Pakistan occupied Balochistan, urged Imran Khan’s supporters to “show grace” by accepting defeat and vacating the highways. Imran Khan, unable to contest the election due to criminal convictions he deems politically motivated, saw candidates backed by him winning more seats than the parties that ousted him nearly two years ago. Final figures published on Sunday reveal that no party secured a majority, necessitating negotiations to form a coalition government.
With 101 out of 266 seats in the National Assembly won by candidates allied with Khan, the Pakistan Muslim League (N) led by Nawaz Sharif secured 75 seats, while the Pakistan People’s Party under Bilawal Bhutto Zardari stood third with 54 seats. One result was withheld, and another vote was postponed due to the death of a candidate. Nawaz Sharif is currently engaged in negotiations with allies to form a coalition government, as the new parliament prepares to elect the country’s next prime minister. The campaign to oust Khan in 2022 was jointly led by the Muslim League-N and the PPP.