Pakistan's Imran Khan on cusp of power, opponents cry foul

Pakistan election Will Imran Khan win

A hospital official said an explosion outside a crowded polling station in the southwestern city of Quetta killed 31 people and wounded 35 more on Wednesday, as Pakistanis voted in general elections.

His Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal is a potential threat to opposition leader, former cricket star Imran Khan's party in northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

LAHORE -Former Punjab chief minister and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) president Shehbaz Sharif has won NA-132 Lahore with 95,834 votes. As Mike Armstrong explains, the election results could have wider repercussions for the region.

The election results may be on halt but preliminary numbers put PTI firmly in the lead, and most people have more or less called it: Imran Khan will be Pakistan's next Prime Minister. "Pakistan has suffered today", he told journalists at a press conference.

Nearly 106 million voters were eligible to cast ballots for the 342-member National Assembly, or the lower house of parliament, and assemblies in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab, Sindh, and Balochistan provinces. The Election Commission of Pakistan ruled out any "conspiracy" in the delay.

Sharif's PML-N has condemned the legal cases facing its members, and reported pressures to leave the party along with harassment to prevent it from returning to power after its absolute majority in 2013. If the candidate wins more than one seat, a by-election will be held as a person can represent only one constituency.

Khan has been an outspoken critic of the USA -led war in neighboring Afghanistan as well as China's massive investment in Pakistan, which has racked up millions of dollars in debt to Beijing.

In a tweet on his official page, Sharif said "our democratic process has been pushed back by decades", adding that "had the public mandate been delivered in a fair manner, we would have accepted it happily".

He further said that the only information he had received so far was that polling agents whose parties were not performing well were leaving the stations without taking the forms, and then alleging that they did not receive them.

32 killed as Pakistan votes to elect new government
ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack that took place as thousands head to the poll to elect Pakistan's next leader. People are voting in a tense environment as at least 34 people were killed in a suicide blast and poll-related violence.


"PML-N and PPP were running under constraints and PTI was operating with complete freedom and establishment backing".

Election officials say it will be Thursday evening local time before an official count confirms Pakistan's next government.

Up to 800,000 police and troops were stationed at more than 85,000 polling stations across the country, after a string of attacks targeting political events in the final weeks of the campaign killed more than 180 people.

Islamic State claimed responsibility for that attack. Mussadiq Malik, the former spokesperson for Nawaz Sharif, said the "security apparatus has taken over the polling stations", while senior PML-N leader Mushahid Hussain said "this is a selection, not an election".

The PPP managed to maintain its stronghold in the Sindh Assembly and should lead the provincial government.

Accusations of military interference: Wednesday's national election was dogged by accusations that Pakistan's powerful military was manipulating the election.

The parliamentary balloting marked only the second time in Pakistan's 71-year history that a civilian government has handed power to another in the country of 200 million people. The ECP was also criticised for deploying the Army both inside and outside of polling stations.

For Khan and his PTI, the results are a vindication of a five-year anti-corruption struggle, with the party taking credit for Nawaz Sharif's disqualification last year and his imprisonment, along with his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Captain (R) Muhammad Safdar.

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