Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) political party of Pakistan’s imprisoned former prime minister, Imran Khan, won an unprecedented majority seat in last week’s election, signalling a departure from the era of military influence over electoral outcomes.
The military removed Mr Khan from office in 2022, plunging the country’s political landscape into disarray with several demonstrations for the release of Mr Khan and against military intervention in political governance.
The military had hoped for the opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PMLN), led by the thrice-former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, to win, the New York Times reported, but the party scored only 73 seats as against PTI’s 97, according to the commission’s statement in the early results.
While seven seats remain contested, they hold no sway in altering the overall outcome, marking a historic moment as a politician achieves electoral success without military backing, despite prior confrontations.
Whilst candidates aligned with Mr Khan were poised to constitute the largest faction in Parliament, they still fell short of an outright majority. The coming days will see the parties of Messrs Khan and Sharif working to garner support from other lawmakers and forge a coalition government.
Furthermore, leaders of Mr Khan’s party declared intentions to contest numerous election results in court, alleging tampering by the military. They also pledged to encourage their supporters to engage in peaceful protests if the outstanding results were not disclosed by Sunday.
On Friday evening, Mr Khan’s party disseminated a victory address in his voice with an AI deepfake. He has been detained since August of 2023.
“I congratulate you all for your election 2024 victory. I had full confidence that you would all come out to vote,” the AI-generated speech said. “Your massive turnout has stunned everybody.”