Pakistan elections | A crown of thorns

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History has a nasty habit of repeating itself in Pakistan. The sarcastic wit of well-known poet Salman Pirzada summed up the situation as the results of General Election 2024 came in. In a Facebook post, he quipped in Urdu, “The oppressors did such blatant rigging that it reminded me of the 2018 elections.” On the one hand, he was referring to the outrage of the supporters of incarcerated former prime minister Imran Khan, whose Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party-backed candidates won the highest number of seats at the federal level but who were also crying foul that many results were manipulated to deny the PTI a majority. On the other, Pirzada was citing the nearly identical situation in the previous general election in 2018, when other parties had levelled similar allegations of electoral manipulation that had allowed Imran Khan to come to power by the slimmest of margins.

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