Former Cricketer Poised For Victory In Pakistan Election Beating Party Of Ousted Prime Minister

Vandana Rambaran | Political Reporter

After a tumultuous and violent election season, former cricket pro Imran Khan is poised to become the new prime minister of Pakistan on Thursday, beating the reigning party of ousted former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif who is serving time for corruption charges.

Populist candidate Khan for the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), or Pakistan Movement for Justice party, campaigned on anti-corruption and promises to rely on an “Islamic welfare state” to combat the failing economic system and widespread poverty in Pakistan, according to reports by Reuters. He has been accused by Sharif’s party of being aided by the Pakistani military, the driving force in government for decades, a charge he and the military both deny. (RELATED: It’s Election Day And 29 People Are Dead In Another ISIS Attack In Pakistan)

Shehbaz Sharif, brother of Pakistan’s former prime minister and president of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party, ran against Khan and is accusing the opposition of election rigging, according to reports by Reuters Thursday.

“It is a sheer rigging. The way the people’s mandate has blatantly been insulted, it is intolerable,” Shehbaz said at a news conference Thursday.

Shehbaz along with another opposition party, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), both claim they got handwritten tallies of the votes instead of the official results from the provinces from Wednesday’s election because monitors in several of their voting centers malfunctioned during the count.

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) insists that voting counts have been delayed because of computer malfunctions and not collusion.

“There’s no conspiracy, nor any pressure in delay of the results. The delay is being caused because the result transmission system has collapsed,” Babar Yaqoob, the ECP secretary, told reporters Thursday.

Khan is leading in 132 of 272 contested National Assembly constituencies, while Shehbaz trails with 64 constituencies in his corner. The count, which was supposed to conclude Wednesday, is only nearly 50 percent completed, according to the ECP.

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