Pakistan election marred by violence; partial results awaited amid internet shutdowns

As voters headed to the polls, internet and mobile services were suspended in Pakistan. Voting has concluded at the majority of polling centers across the country. Nonetheless, voting will persist for those already in the queue and at select centers where the election commission had authorized a two-hour extension.

As polling stations close across Pakistan, the nation awaits the outcome of a pivotal election marred by violence and controversy. Despite a two-hour extension in some areas, mobile internet shutdowns have drawn sharp criticism. Tragic attacks have left at least nine dead, casting a shadow over the electoral process. With the vote count underway, the country braces for the unveiling of partial, unofficial results later tonight.

The vote count is currently in progress, with partial and unofficial results anticipated to gradually emerge as the evening unfolds. Haroon Shinwari, a senior figure from the Election Commission of Pakistan, has indicated that comprehensive results will begin to surface from urban regions after 10 PM (17:00 GMT). However, he also cautioned that there could be delays in remote rural areas.

According to accounts provided to Al Jazeera, voters at a school in Karachi expressed dissatisfaction with the chaotic process of casting their ballots. A 27-year-old individual, Wanya Shakeel, noted that the officers at the polling station failed to offer proper guidance, confusing. Shakeel mentioned the presence of queues despite several empty rooms and the additional complication of multiple constituencies voting in the same location.

Additionally, Nawab Masihuddin Ahmed, aged 56, criticized the absence of arrangements for the elderly and highlighted the shortage of Electoral Commission of Pakistan (ECP) staff, suggesting that the public was being misled.

As voters headed to the polls, internet and mobile services were suspended in Pakistan. Voting has concluded at the majority of polling centers across the country. Nonetheless, voting will persist for those already in the queue and at select centers where the election commission had authorized a two-hour extension.

According to a report by Dawn, Haroon Shinwari, spokesperson for the ECP, has assured that the results will be announced on time and emphasized that the internet outage will not affect the commission’s system. The Interior Ministry stated that internet services were suspended earlier due to security concerns.

Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf, using X (formerly Twitter), expressed gratitude to voters as the polling concluded, stating, “The party thanked all those brave Pakistanis who came out to vote today, despite all the challenges. It expressed hope that victory will be theirs and all plans of rigging will be defeated.”