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Pakistan elections: Vote counting continues into Friday

Vote counting continued in Friday morning in Pakistan

Vote counting continued in Friday morning in Pakistan

  • 12 hours after polls closed, the electoral commission has yet to announce a result
  • Key issues included the economic crisis, security issues and the power of the military
  • The projected front-runner is former Premier Nawaz Sharif of the Pakistan Muslim League
  • Former Prime Minister Imran Khan was barred from running

Pakistan counts votes, electoral commission demands results

Pakistan's vote count following their national election on Thursday was marred by delays, leading the Election Commission of Pakistan on Friday moring to order returning officers to speed up the release of results.

By 3 a.m. local time (2200 GMT, Thursday), more than 10 hours after polls closed, only four provincial assembly results had been announced.

The delay has been blamed on "internet problems" after the closure by authorities of internet and phone access during the day.

The Interior Ministry said communications outages were "to maintain law and order" after two explosions on Wednesday by the "Islamic State" killed 28 people.

Pakistan election day marred by violence and confusion

Pakistani voters went to the election polls on Thursday, but the day was marred by violence and the suspension of communication services.

Mobile phone services across Pakistan were suspended during polling hours, with the Interior Ministry citing the need to "maintain law and order." In a statement, a ministry spokesman said, "It has been decided to temporarily suspend the mobile service across the country."

Supporters of jailed ex-Prime Minister Imran Khan told DW that the authorities shutting down internet and phone access was a ploy to dissuade them from voting for him — a claim Pakistan’s caretaker government denied.

Pakistani voters showed themselves undeterred by very cold weather in several parts of the country, even while the threat of violence is highlighted by the tens of thousands of troops deployed across the country. However, pollsters predicted a low turnout from the country's 128 million eligible voters.

Highlighting the risks of voting, at least 12 people, mostly security officials, were killed in numerous militant attacks aiming to disrupt the elections, the Pakistani military said. The attacks occurred in at least 51 places in Pakistan’s volatile southwestern and northwestern regions that border Afghanistan and Iran, a statement said.

km/sms (AP, Reuters, AFP, DPA)