Candidates aligned with the party of the imprisoned former Pakistani prime minister Imran Khan won the most seats in Pakistan’s parliamentary elections, despite the military’s efforts to suppress support.

The stunning performance humiliated the country’s powerful generals, upended most political forecasts and created a political crisis. Now, uncertainty looms large.

Khan’s supporters are electrified. But they are also enraged by what they call blatant rigging, and are challenging dozens of results. Protests have erupted and many more are planned as pressure grows on the country’s Election Commission to acknowledge widely reported irregularities in the vote counting.

Khan’s supporters are also bracing for the possibility that other parties may ultimately lead the government. Preliminary results suggested that his supporters did not score a full majority, and that they would need to form a coalition to rule. The military’s preferred party — the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, led by former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif — is exploring ways to take control through alliances.

The military: The wave of discontent with the meddling in politics will most likely put pressure on the army chief, Gen. Syed Asim Munir. He must now decide whether to reconcile with Khan or force a coalition of Khan’s opponents, one that many believe would be weak and unsustainable.

The campaign: From behind bars, Khan rallied his supporters with speeches that used A.I. to replicate his voice, tapping into an internet-savvy youth bulge that is rewriting the country’s politics.

source

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