Lahore: The Pakistan Muslim League - Nawaz (PML-N) supporters took to the streets in Lahore in droves on Sunday to celebrate the victory of Nawaz Sharif's party in a landmark general election that marked the first democratic transition in Pakistan's troubled history. Overwhelmed by the victory, the PML-N supporters fired in the air at several places in Lahore, violating the Election Commission's code of conduct. However, police remained silent spectators to their actions.
Waving party flags, youths danced to the tune of drums. They also shouted slogans like "Wazir-e-Azam (Prime Minister) Nawaz Sharif". At some places, the jubilant PML-N workers brought tigers - the election symbol of the party - and danced in front of them. Traffic remained suspended on the Mall Road, Lahore's main thoroughfare, Gulberg and Liberty Market for a few hours because of the celebrations by the PML-N supporters.
"I am very happy to see my party winning the election. The people of Pakistan have given a historic mandate to the Sharifs and we hope they will come up to their expectations," said Nasir Mahmood, a Lahore resident. Another PML-N supporter, Wasim Rafiq, said, "We were not expecting such a huge victory. The PML-N has again proved that it is the most popular party of the country and Punjab is its stronghold."
Trends from 268 of the 272 parliamentary seats that went to the polls on Saturday showed that the PML-N was set to bag in excess of 125 seats, while the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) and Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) were lagging far behind with about 32 seats each. Analysts said the PML-N was expected to form the government at the centre with the support of independents and smaller rightist parties like the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam, setting the stage for Nawaz Sharif's third stint as premier.