The military’s favoured party failed to win a majority amid a swell of support for jailed Imran Khan
Pakistan’s army chief praised the successful conduct of bitterly contested elections and called on politicians to show “maturity and unity” after the military’s favoured party failed to win a majority.
Party leaders began coalition horse-trading after a swell of support for jailed Imran Khan prevented the army-backed Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) from winning.
With results still coming in, Mr Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party continued to claim it had been cheated out of seats by systematic rigging.
Britain, America and the European Union have all each expressed concerns about the conduct of the poll and urged a probe into reported irregularities.
The country now potentially faces weeks of further turmoil as alliances are thrashed out and results disputed in court.
The surprisingly strong showing for Mr Khan’s candidates, despite the former cricketer being in prison, is a sharp blow to the army, which had thrown its weight behind the PML-N’s Nawaz Sharif, analysts said.
Gen Asim Munir, chief of the army staff, said: “Elections are not a zero-sum competition of winning and losing, but an exercise to determine the mandate of the people.
“As the people of Pakistan have reposed their combined trust in the constitution of Pakistan, it is now incumbent upon all political parties to reciprocate the same with political maturity and unity.
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