Islamabad: Voters in Pakistan have given a mandate to PML-N's Nawaz Sharif, who is set to become Prime Minister for a record third time. With 272 national assembly seats, 137 is the simple majority mark - and right now PML-N is leading in 125. The big gainer is Imran Khan's Tehreek-e-Insaf Party which has won 31 seats.
But as there was jubilation in the Nawaz Sharif camp, there was gloom and angst in the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaaf party. Imran Khan's supporters took to the streets of Lahore on Sunday night in protest against the announcement of unofficial results for the elections.
A large crowd chanted slogans demanding justice and re-election and lots of young people, who were part of the gathering, demanded re-election in Karachi, alleged rigging in the polls. Imran Khan said his party would act as a "solid opposition" even as he alleged that the general elections in Pakistan were marred by rigging in some provinces.
"The greatest strength of democracy is a solid opposition, which was not there in Pakistan for the past 10 years. Till now there was friendly opposition. We will tell the people the benefit of a good opposition," Khan, 60, said in a video released from the hospital in Lahore where he is recuperating from a fall that fractured his spine. Khan, the chief of Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf party, did not acknowledge the PML-N s victory or congratulate Nawaz Sharif as most other Pakistani politicians have done.
The video was Khan's first reaction to trends which showed that the PML-N was set to bag more than 125 of the 272 parliamentary seats that went to the polls on Saturday. PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif has already claimed victory and said his party will form the next government.
Khan often claimed during the campaign that his party would sweep the election but trends showed that it would bag just over 30 seats. Analysts pointed out that its actual total could be lower as several leaders like Khan had won in more than one seat and would be allowed to retain only one.
Despite the poor showing, Khan alleged that his party had been affected by rigging in Punjab and Sindh provinces. The Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf will produce a "white paper" on the alleged rigging so that such practices could be prevented in future, he said.
He said his party would form the government in northwestern Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, where it has emerged the single largest party. He pledged to make the province an example for the rest of Pakistan by reforming the police force, education and healthcare. Khan welcomed the high turnout in the election, describing it as a "democratic evolution". He said Pakistan had witnessed possibly the largest turnout in its history.
Officials have said the turnout was estimated to be around 60 per cent. "I congratulate the people for this democratic evolution. There is political awareness in the country and the people decided to take their future and destiny in their own hands," he said, speaking from his hospital bed.
Khan has been credited for inspiring many youths to vote with his calls for reform and ending corruption. He especially thanked them for their passion and enthusiasm. "I have seen victories and defeats in life but the pain of this defeat goes away when I remember your passion," he said.
Party-wise National Assembly results:
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) - 125 (Unofficial, Geo News)
Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaaf (PTI) - 31 (Unofficial, Geo News)
Independent - 31 (Unofficial, Geo News)
Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) - 32 (Unofficial, Geo News)
Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI) - 10 (Unofficial, Geo News)
Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) - 3
Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PKMAP) - 3
Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) - 17
Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) - 2
National Party (NP) - 1
Balochistan National Party (BNP) - 0
All Pakistan Muslim League (APML) - 1
Awami National Party (ANP) - 0
Results - Key contestants:
Nawaz Sharif, PMLN: Wins from Sargodha, Punjab
Shahbaz Sharif, PMLN: Wins from Lahore
Imran Khan, PTI: Wins from Peshawar, Mianwali, Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Rawalpindi.
Raza Pervez Ashraf, PPP: Trailing in Rawalpindi, Punjab
(All results are subject to change by ECP. )
(With additional information from PTI)