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Pakistan’s cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan. Photo: Getty Images

Defeated rivals cry foul as Imran Khan gains power in Pakistan

Pakistan’s cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan. Photo: Getty Images

Imran Khan was officially crowned winner of Pakistan’s general election yesterday, as defeated rivals met to discuss how to respond to what they claim was widespread vote rigging.

The former cricketer had a commanding lead in the national assembly and was expected to form a coalition easily over the coming days.

EU monitors said that “overall the election results are credible”, but that the run-up to polling had been skewed by “a lack of equality and opportunity”.

“Our overall assessment of the election process is that it is not as good as in 2013,” said Michael Gahler, the EU team leader.

The assessment came despite protests from rival parties that the vote had been manipulated.

Mr Khan’s opponents and rights groups have alleged the country’s powerful military and its intelligence agencies set out to weaken Nawaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) to keep it from winning a new term in power.

Both Mr Khan and the military have denied the accusation. Shehbaz Sharif, leader of the PML-N since his brother Nawaz was ousted and jailed, said an all-party summit would “deliberate on the issue of massive irregularities in the polls”.

Election officials are under fire for the lack of a full official result two days after ballots closed.

The ECP has dismissed allegations of manipulation, blaming the delay in the results on technical glitches.

Mr Khan, a 65-year-old former cricket star, claimed victory in a wide-ranging address to the nation.

“We were successful and we were given a mandate,” he said from his home in the capital Islamabad.

The former all-rounder’s statement came after his supporters took to the streets to celebrate winning the election. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

 

independent.ie

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