Pakistan’s 2024 general election results were announced on Sunday, with independent candidates affiliated with former prime minister Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party winning the most seats.
This was a stunning victory for Mr Khan given the hurdles he has faced. His party is effectively banned, his speeches are blocked from being broadcast on television, and he faces at least 14 years in prison.
“You kept my trust, and your massive turnout has stunned everyone,” an AI-generated video of Mr Khan shared by the PTI that resembled his voice, said to his millions of followers shortly after his victory. “Now show the strength of protecting your vote.”
Mr Khan’s team has in the past used AI to deliver his speeches from prison.
Given that the PTI was barred from taking part in the election, most of its candidates stood as independents.
The results were announced more than three days after the polls closed in Thursday’s highly charged election.
The PTI has made allegations of systematic fraud and vote rigging, claiming that it has actually won more than 150 seats.
On Sunday, the PTI organised protests outside election commission offices in constituencies across the country. In Lahore, hundreds of riot police broke up the protests and in some cases charged at peaceful demonstrators before detaining them.
In Rawalpindi city, south of the capital Islamabad, police fired tear gas to disperse dozens of protesters.
So what was the vote share in the 2024 Pakistan election and who is Imran Khan?
What was the vote share in the Pakistan election?
None of Pakistan’s three major parties has won the necessary 169 seats to make up a majority in Parliament. As such, they will be unable to form a government on their own.
The Election Commission of Pakistan said independent candidates won 102 seats. The majority of these are affiliated with the PTI.
The Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) (PMLN), headed by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, came second with 73 seats. The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) won 54 seats to finish third.
The Karachi-based MQM party won 17 seats and could play a role in a coalition government, the BBC reported.
The Pakistani constitution dictates that parties must form a government by February 29 — or three weeks after election day.
On Sunday, the PMLN and the PPP issued a statement saying they planned to work together to bring political stability.
Mr Khan’s supporters would likely be enraged if they did form a government.
Who is Imran Khan?
Imran Ahmed Khan Niazi, 71, is a Pakistani former cricketer and politician. He was the 22nd prime minister of Pakistan from August 2018 to April 2022, before being ousted after a no-confidence motion.
Mr Khan was in January 2024 sentenced to 14 years in jail in a corruption case — just 24 hours after being given a 10-year sentence for leaking state secrets.
His wife, Bushra Bibi, was also handed a 14-year sentence in the case, known as Toshakhana. This accused them both of illegally selling state gifts.
The judge banned them both from holding political office for 10 years.
Mr Khan is alleged to have waved a confidential document — a classified cable — at a rally in March 2022 after he was ousted as PM. He claimed that the document was proof of a conspiracy by the Pakistani military and the US government to topple his administration. He has maintained his innocence and says he did not disclose the exact contents of the cable.
The document — called Cipher — has not been made public by either the government or Mr Khan’s lawyers, It was reportedly diplomatic correspondence between the Pakistani ambassador to Washington and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Islamabad.
Dozens of cases have been brought against Khan since he was ousted from power. He says these are a government plot to discredit him.
Born in Lahore in 1952, Mr Khan’s paternal family is of Pashtun ethnicity and belongs to the Niazi tribe.
He grew up with four sisters in an upper-middle-class family and was educated in England at the Royal Grammar School Worcester. He then attended Keble College, Oxford, where he read philosophy, politics and economics, graduating in 1975.
Mr Khan made his Test cricket debut against England in 1971 at Edgbaston. In 1976, he returned to Pakistan, where he secured a permanent position with the national team.
He became captain of the team in 1982 until he retired after leading Pakistan to World Cup glory in 1992.
The all-rounder scored six centuries and took 362 wickets in 88 Tests.
On April 25, 1996, Mr Khan founded the PTI. He ran for a seat on the National Assembly of Pakistan in 1997 as a candidate of PTI from two constituencies — Mianwali and Lahore — but was unsuccessful and lost both seats.
He also participated in the 2002 Pakistani general election, during which he was elected for Mianwali.
In 2018, Mr Khan was elected prime minister of Pakistan. During his victory speech, he said he wanted to build the country as a humanitarian state based on the principles of the first Islamic state of Medina.
Mr Khan has been married three times, firstly to British socialite Jemima Goldsmith. His second, short-lived marriage was to British-Pakistani journalist Reham Khan.
He married his current wife six months before he became prime minister.
Mr Khan has three children — two sons and a daughter.