A group of Pakistani political parties Friday announced a protest demanding new elections following allegations of rigging in this week’s nationwide polls that were won by cricket hero Imran Khan‘s party.
“We will run a movement for holding of elections again. There will be protests,” said Maulana Fazalur Rehman from the All Parties Conference, which included the outgoing ruling party, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz.
The pivotal election has been branded “Pakistan’s dirtiest”, after widespread claims in the months leading up to the vote that the powerful military was trying to fix the playing field in Khan’s favour.
Strong, menacing words from Maulana Fazalur Rehman as he threatens to boycott and upend the Jul 25 election results. Much depends on what PML-N does. It seems Shehbaz Sharif is playing hardball to extract concessions, if at all.
— Salman Masood (@salmanmasood) July 27, 2018
European Union election observers expressed concerns that there was “a notable lack in equality of opportunity” in the vote, which was “not as good” as the country’s previous election in 2013.
Rival parties met late Friday as part of an alliance called the All Parties Conference where they called out the military for interfering in the polls.
“We will not allow democracy to be take hostage by the establishment,” Rehman said on stage along with members from more than a dozen parties.
The vote was meant to be a rare democratic transition in the Muslim country, which has been ruled by the powerful army for roughly half its history, but was marred by violence and allegations of military interference.