Requests for recounting in NA-129 Lahore-V, NA-131 Lahore-VII and NA-108 Faisalabad-VIII have been accepted by the returning officers of the respective constituencies.

The requests were submitted by the losing candidates in the constituencies — Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf's (PTI) Abdul Aleem Khan (NA-129) and PML-N's Saad Rafique (NA-131) and Abid Sher Ali (NA-108).

Khan had lost to PML-N's Ayaz Sadiq by around 8,000 votes, according to the preliminary results. Rafique and Ali had lost to Imran Khan and Farrukh Habib (both PTI candidates) with very thin margins (under 1,500).

Questions have been raised at a number of other constituencies where the win-loss margins were very close and recounting can be expected to take place at more constituencies.

'Massive rigging'

Calling into question the vote-count process, major political parties including the PPP and the PML-N have claimed that the elections were 'rigged' to favour the PTI.

However, the parties have yet to present evidence for their claims.

Their claims rely heavily on the non-provision or late provision of Form 45, which contains the vote count of a polling station, to polling agents of political parties. Some parties have also claimed their polling agents were not allowed to sit inside some polling stations during the counting process.

The parties had earlied called an 'all parties conference', which was scheduled for today. However, it appears that the conference may not happen as the PPP and Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) have backed out from attending, leaving the Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal (MMA), the PML-N and Awami National Party (ANP) behind.

Meanwhile, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has denied all claims of rigging, claiming that Form 45s were provided to agents of all political parties. It has asked that political parties to approach the commission with formal complaints, which it has assured will be addressed.

The ECP has attributed the delay in announcement of results to a technical fault in Result Transmission System (RTS) — a software used to relay results from presiding officer to the ECP. The RTS crashed on the evening soon after the results were being transmitted, resulting in inordinate delays in the counting process.

Additional reporting by Kashif Hussain.

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