Pakistan’s jailed former prime minister Imran Khan claimed victory Friday in the country’s general election in an audiovisual message created with artificial intelligence and shared on his X social media account.
In the message, which is normally conveyed verbally through his lawyers, the AI version of Khan rejected rival and former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s earlier claim of victory.
Khan called on his supporters to celebrate a victory achieved despite what he calls a crackdown on his party, telling them: “I had faith in you.” His massive participation scared everyone. Nobody can stop us. Do not be afraid. Celebrate.’
Khan-backed independent candidates won the most seats in Thursday’s national election, even though he was jailed for an illegal marriage and his party was barred from the polls.
They challenged election observers, who said a military-backed campaign of mass arrests and harassment would lead to victory for the Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N), a party backed by Sharif, putting him on track for a fourth term. Prime Minister.
Imran Khan (pictured) asked his supporters to celebrate a victory achieved despite what he calls a crackdown on his party.
A supporter of convicted former Prime Minister Imran Khan wears a hat celebrating his party
So far, independent candidates backed by Imran Khan have won the most seats.
But independent candidates won 98 of the 265 seats up for grabs, enough to form the largest bloc in the country’s parliament but not enough to win an absolute majority.
The Pakistan Muslim League-N won a total of 66 seats, while the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), led by the son of an assassinated former prime minister, won 51 seats.
At the time of this publication, 25 seats went to other parties, while another 42 are yet to be called.
The race for a seat was postponed after the assassination of a candidate. Final results will be announced at midnight local time.
Sharif claimed victory after saying the PML-N would approach the PPP and other parties to form a ruling coalition.
His statement comes just a day after he rejected the idea of a coalition government.
It is not known whether the PPP will accept the agreement, since its leader harshly criticized the PML-N during the election campaign.
The UK, US and EU have raised serious concerns about the way the elections were conducted in Pakistan.
Pakistan cut off all mobile phone and data services across the country on election day, in a move that was widely condemned.
The Home Office said: “Precious lives have been lost” in the recent militant attacks and “security measures (were) essential to maintain the law and order situation and deal with potential threats.”
Two political candidates were shot dead in the run-up to national elections, while 28 others were killed in two bomb explosions carried out by the Islamic State outside the political candidates’ offices.
Voters in Pakistan have to rely on a government-run text messaging service to confirm which polling stations they are registered to vote at.
Former Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif (pictured right) with his daughter Maryam Nawaz (pictured left)
Supporters of Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif
NetBlocks, a global internet watchdog, said data confirmed there was an outage in mobile phone and internet services on election day.
NetBlocks, a global internet watchdog, said the data confirmed there was an outage in mobile phone and internet services, “corroborating widespread reports of user outages.”
“The internet blackout occurring on election day in Pakistan is among the largest we have seen in any country in terms of severity and extent,” NetBlocks director Alp Toker told AFP.
“The practice is inherently undemocratic and is known to limit the work of independent election observers and cause irregularities in the voting process.”
There were also reports that political activists were detained in the run-up to the elections.
Lord David Cameron, the UK foreign secretary, said in a statement today: ‘We recognise… the serious concerns raised about the fairness and lack of inclusiveness of the elections. We regret that not all parties were formally allowed to participate in the elections and that legal processes were used to prevent the participation of some political leaders.’
Meanwhile, the United States called for an investigation into allegations that the military interfered in the election, with the State Department saying in a statement: ‘We condemn electoral violence… and are concerned about allegations of interference in the electoral process. . “Allegations of interference or fraud must be thoroughly investigated.”
The EU also joined calls for an official investigation into the elections, adding: We regret the lack of a level playing field due to the inability of some political actors to participate in the elections, restrictions on freedom of assembly and freedom of expression both online and offline, restrictions on Internet access, as well as accusations of serious interference in the electoral process, including arrests of political activists.’
Neighboring Iran, however, congratulated Pakistan on the elections and its Foreign Ministry said it “wished Pakistan’s brother, friend and neighbor country greater prosperity.”
Soldiers were brought in to monitor the elections.
The election was held amid security measures that include restrictions on mobile phones and the Internet.
Earlier this week, Khan said his imprisonment was an “attempt to humiliate him.”
Earlier this week, Khan said his imprisonment was an “attempt to humiliate him” and vowed that he would “rather die” than reach a deal with authorities.
Pakistan’s former prime minister and his wife Bushra Bibi were sentenced to seven years in prison on Saturday after a court ruled they violated a law requiring a woman to wait three months before remarrying.
Bibi was previously married to a man who claimed they divorced in November 2017, less than three months before marrying Khan on January 1, 2018. Bibi said they divorced in August 2017.
Khan called the conviction, his third in two weeks, an attempt to “humiliate and disgrace” him and his wife, adding that it was the first time in 14 years that someone had been jailed in Pakistan for an alleged illegal marriage.
The latest verdict follows another case in which Khan, 71, and Bibi, 49, were sentenced last Wednesday to 14 years in prison for corruption.
The former cricketer was also sentenced to 10 years in prison the day before for leaking state secrets. His sentences total 31 years, but will be served simultaneously.
Previously calling the convictions an attempt to undermine him politically, Khan remained defiant and vowed that he had not agreed to a deal and would “rather die” than close one in the future, according to local media.
Bibi is Khan’s third wife, after Jemima Goldsmith, who was married to the former athlete for nine years, and former BBC meteorologist Reham Khan, who spent just 10 months with Khan.
Bibi and Khan denied violating the three-month waiting period, a requirement of Islamic law and respected by Pakistan. Khan and his family insist the trial is politically motivated.
More to follow.