Official results from the Pakistani general election on Friday showed Independent candidates affiliated with the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party taking a lead over the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) and the Pakistan People’s Party.

At 7.45 pm Indian Standard Time, candidates linked to former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf were leading in 56 seats, Dawn reported.

While former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) was leading in 40 seats, former foreign minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari-led Pakistan People’s Party was ahead in 23 constituencies.

The country’s National Assembly has a total of 266 elected members. A party or a coalition needs 134 seats to win.

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, which was the largest party in the previous general elections in 2018, has been forced to field its candidates as independents after the country’s Supreme Court blocked the party from using its electoral symbol. Khan, the party’s chief, is in jail after being convicted in multiple legal cases.

Unofficial results reported by local media showed the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf-linked Independent candidates leading in about 90 seats, ahead of Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz)’s 60.

The Election Commission of Pakistan began sharing preliminary results 12 hours after polling for national and provincial assemblies ended on Thursday, adding to speculation of poll rigging, The Independent reported. The delay was attributed to the suspension of mobile internet services on Thursday.

At least 12 persons were killed and 39 injured in attacks across Pakistan that the country’s military said were aimed at disrupting the vote, according to Al Jazeera.

The United States State Department on Thursday expressed concern about the election-related violence and the internet shutdown. “We want to see a process that took place in a way that allowed for broad participation, freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association,” the department’s Principal Deputy Spokesperson Vedant Patel said in a statement.

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