Former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party and its affiliates emerged victorious with the most seats in the final count announced on Sunday. In response, thousands of demonstrators have blocked highways and initiated a day-long strike to protest against the outcomes of last week’s general election in Pakistan. These protests come in the wake of heightened tensions following allegations of vote rigging and manipulation, alongside significant uncertainty surrounding the formation of the next government. The PTI secured 95 out of 264 seats, leading the tally, while the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party, led by former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, came in second with 75 seats. With no single party securing a majority, intricate negotiations are ongoing to establish a coalition government that will nominate the country’s next prime minister. As numerous constituency results face legal challenges, Pakistan braces for weeks of political ambiguity. Amidst these negotiations, accusations of vote rigging persist, with the PTI protesting Imran Khan’s exclusion from the election due to criminal convictions, some of which were finalized just before the vote. Alongside other parties, the PTI has contested results in multiple constituencies, alleging electoral manipulation. Over the weekend, thousands demonstrated in Lahore, resulting in several arrests. On Monday, the PTI organized additional protests and a strike. Jan Achakzai, a government spokesperson in Balochistan province, urged protesters to accept defeat gracefully and vacate the highways. Law enforcement, citing a colonial-era law banning public gatherings (Section 144), had previously warned of strict action against unlawful assemblies.


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