With former Pakistan prime ministers Nawaz Sharif and Imran Khan both claiming victory in the countrywide elections, the United States, the United Kingdom, and the European Union expressed concerns about the electoral process and called for an investigation into reported irregularities.
Elections were held for 265 seats in the national assembly, and the US, EU, and UK urged a thorough investigation into allegations of interference, irregularities, and fraud.
The EU statement highlighted a “lack of a level playing field,” pointing to the inability of some political actors to contest the elections and restrictions on freedom of assembly, expression, and internet access.
The US State Department noted “undue restrictions” on freedom of expression and assembly, as well as violence and attacks on journalists. Democratic US Representatives Ro Khanna and Ilhan Omar also expressed concerns, with Khanna alleging military interference and rigging.
British Foreign Minister David Cameron expressed “serious concerns” about the fairness and inclusivity of the elections. While the EU, US, and UK stated their intention to work with the next government, they refrained from congratulating any candidate or party.
Imran Khan, currently in jail and disqualified as a candidate, has denied any wrongdoing. His PTI party, barred from the polls, saw independent candidates supported by Khan winning the most seats overall.
Nawaz Sharif’s PML-N party claimed victory, but as it failed to secure a clear majority, Sharif expressed a willingness to form a coalition government. Amidst delayed results and militant attacks that claimed 28 lives, Sharif’s party declared the most seats won by a single party.
In a message created using artificial intelligence, Khan rejected Sharif’s claim, congratulated his supporters, and urged them to celebrate and protect their vote. The political landscape remains uncertain as both parties navigate the aftermath of the contentious elections.