Pakistan’s 2024 Elections: Allegations of Rigging and Delayed Results
In the aftermath of Pakistan’s 2024 elections, controversy swirls as allegations of rigging, sporadic violence, and a countrywide mobile phone shutdown mar the electoral process. The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) finally unveiled the first results in the wee hours of Friday, more than 10 hours after polling stations closed, leaving the nation on edge.
Amidst the suspense, Samiullah Khan, an independent candidate backed by Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), emerged victorious in the PK-76 constituency of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provincial Assembly, clinching over 18,000 votes. Similarly, Ali Shah, another PTI-supported independent candidate, secured the PK-4 constituency in Swat with a staggering 30,022 votes, according to initial reports from the ECP.
The delayed announcement of results fueled frustration among political parties and voters alike. Despite the polls closing on Feb. 8 at 5 p.m., a clear picture did not emerge until the early hours of Feb. 9, leaving many questioning the efficiency and transparency of the ECP.
As criticism mounted, the ECP faced pressure to expedite the announcement of results. In response, the electoral watchdog directed provincial Election Commissioners and Returning Officers to swiftly release the results or face repercussions. However, concerns persisted regarding the impartiality of the electoral process, with allegations of manipulation and favoritism casting a shadow over the proceedings.
ECP Special Secretary Zafar Iqbal dismissed claims of interference, attributing the delay to the time-consuming process of result compilation by Returning Officers. He assured the public that clarity would prevail by Friday morning, seeking to allay fears of electoral malpractice.
Nevertheless, reports emerged of Returning Officers withholding results, particularly in provinces where the PTI seemed poised for victory. The move sparked outrage and further fueled suspicions of foul play, heightening tensions in an already contentious electoral atmosphere.
In a press release issued in the late hours of the night, the ECP vehemently denied accusations of misconduct, urging media channels to refrain from spreading misinformation. However, the lack of transparency and the perceived opacity of the electoral process only deepened the sense of disillusionment among voters.
As Pakistan awaits the final outcome of the 2024 elections, the nation grapples with uncertainty and distrust in its democratic institutions. The path to a fair and credible electoral process appears fraught with challenges, highlighting the pressing need for transparency, accountability, and integrity in future elections.