Days ahead of the reported swearing-in ceremony of Pakistan Prime Minister-elect Imran Khan on August 11 for which he may invite PM Narendra Modi, anti-Army protests were held in the country’s Punjab province over allegations of rampant rigging during recently-concluded Pakistan Elections 2018. Protesters have raised anti-army slogans claiming they “don’t believe such bogus results”.
Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has emerged as the largest single party in the polls, defeating the Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) party of jailed former prime minister Nawaz Sharif. PTI did better than expected to win 16.86 million votes and beat PML-N, which got nearly 13 million votes. Polls were marred by allegations of rigging and opposition leaders said that PML-N would not accept these elections as legitimate and threatened to “start a movement along with other parties”.
WATCH VIDEO of anti-army protests in Pakistan
— ANI (@ANI) August 1, 2018
However, the former Pakistan cricket team captain and the only skipper in country’s history to lift the coveted cricket World Cup so far, has staunchly denied allegations by PML-N that he received help from the military, which has ruled Pakistan for about half of its history and still sets key security and foreign policy. Oxford-educated Khan offered to investigate all the allegations of rigging and said he wants to “unite” the country under his leadership.
The army, which dismissed allegations of meddling, deployed 371,000 soldiers at polling stations across the country, nearly five times the number as in last election in 2013. Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) secretary Babar Yaqoob also rejected the allegations of tampering in the vote count. “The complaints we have been receiving, they could be of the procedural level, but not any kind of rigging,” Yaqoob said.
Khan, whose victory has received thumbs up from investors, has promised of “Naya Pakistan” prior to the elections. “Accountability will start with me, then my ministers, and then we will work our way down,” Khan said. “I want all of Pakistan to be united in this moment.”