Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Wednesday, May 27th, 2020

Rivals Concede Pakistan Election to Imran Khan; EU Flags Concerns

Rivals Concede Pakistan Election to  Imran Khan; EU Flags Concerns

ISLAMABAD - Pakistan’s former ruling party conceded defeat to cricket star-turned-politician Imran Khan ahead of final results from the country’s disputed election, which European Union monitors said on Friday had not been fought on a level playing field.
Khan, during a speech declaring victory on Thursday, offered to investigate opposition allegations of vote-rigging and said he wanted to “unite” the country under his leadership.
The party of jailed ex-prime minister Nawaz Sharif initially rejected the so far incomplete results, but by Friday its leaders appeared to accept that Khan would be the next prime minister.
“We are going to sit on opposition benches, despite all the reservations,” said HamzaShehbaz Sharif, a parliamentarian and the nephew of Nawaz Sharif, who is in prison after being convicted on corruption charges he disputes.
The allegations of rigging in Wednesday’s election followed a bitter campaign in which Pakistan’s powerful military was accused of tilting the race in favor of Khan, and trying to erase democratic gains made since the most recent spell of military rule ended in 2008.
The EU Election Observation Mission, in its preliminary findings, said the electoral process was “not as good” as the 2013 election and campaign week featured a “lack of equality” that meant it was not a level playing field for all parties.
“Many of our interlocutors acknowledged a systematic effort to undermine the former ruling party through cases of corruption, contempt of court and terrorist charges against its leaders and candidates,” chief EU observer Michael Gahler told a news conference. The mission included 120 observers who visited 582 polling stations in all the provinces except Baluchistan.
Gahler said EU observers had not witnessed any military interference in polling stations they assessed. (Reuters)