Pakistani government cuts off the population’s internet on election day with 35 dead and reports of fraud

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The Pakistani government cut off the internet across the country this Thursday (8), when millions of Pakistanis went to the polls to elect a new prime minister.

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As a result, the elections, which will define the new leader of the United States’ great ally in Southeast Asia, were marked by allegations of manipulation and violence – 35 people have died since Tuesday (6) in episodes related to the election.

The director of Netblocks, an organization that monitors the internet, Alp Toker, told the AFP news agency that “the current internet blockade is among the most rigorous and extensive we have ever observed in any country.”

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Furthermore, polls point to the victory of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, 74, one of the country’s greatest political figures. Associated with the Army and leader of the Pakistan Muslim League party, Sharif returned from exile in October. If he wins, he will govern the country for the fourth time.

His biggest rival would be former prime minister and popular former cricketer Imran Khan, 71 years old. However, Khan was sentenced to three long prison terms and was therefore prevented from contesting the elections – which raised suspicions of bias on the part of the justice system.

Khan’s party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), was banned from campaigning, and party members were detained or forced to leave the country.

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