While early trends show that the PTI is ahead, the Imran Khan-led party is still short of the majority needed to form the government.
Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) party was leading the early vote count after Wednesday’s elections in Pakistan, but the unofficial results were being disputed by dozens of candidates who lodged complaints of vote rigging.
The celebrations for Imran Khan could be spoiled by a summon by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) due to violating its Code of Conduct, reported The Pakistan Observer.
In Lahore, rival Shahbaz Sharif called on Pakistanis to “get out of their homes and. change the fate of Pakistan” before casting his own vote and flashing a victory sign.
The PPP, led by young scion Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, also alleged similar irregularities occurred in constituencies in its stronghold of Sindh province. The PPP was leading in races for 42 seats.
To form a majority government outright, the contest’s victor would need to snatch 137 seats. Last year, she came to Khan’s help when he faced legal battle related to Bani Gala estate in suburbs of Islamabad.
Born on October 5, 1952, Imran Khan was said to be a “quiet and shy boy in his youth”.
Votes were still being counted on Thursday, hours after supporters of Mr Khan’s Tehreek-e-Insaf party took to the streets to celebrate his expected win.
Khan, who is a cricket legend of nearly mythical proportions, has appealed to the the youth with promises of a new Pakistan.
Khan is campaigning on populist promises to build a “New Pakistan”, vowing to eradicate corruption, clean up the environment and construct an “Islamic welfare” state.
Khan is also likely to be met with trepidation in neighbouring Afghanistan, where he has been vocal in his opposition to the US-led invasion that followed the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.
Khan has been an outspoken critic of the USA -led war in neighbouring Afghanistan as well as China’s massive investment in Pakistan, which has racked up millions of dollars in debt to Beijing.
A concern is the unprecedented participation of radical religious groups, including those banned for links to terrorism but resurrected under different names. The army has also dismissed allegations of meddling in the election.
“God willing, PTI will emerge as the single largest party in Parliament”, said Shah Mahmood Qureshi, the party’s vice-chairman.
Meanwhile, the chairman of the Commonwealth Observer Group, General Abdulsalami A. Abubakar, condemned the suicide attack that occurred near a polling station in Quetta on Wednesday in which at least 31 people lost their lives and many others were injured. Islamic State claimed responsibility.
More than 100 million registered voters will cast their ballots across Pakistan in a nail-biting end to an intense general election process that has been marred by claims of rigging and terrorism. The military, which has ruled Pakistan for roughly half of its 71-year history, allegedly backed Khan and the PTI.
Voting appeared to be heavy in major urban centers, where long lines of voters were seen.
Former chief minister Pervez Khattak will keep his National Assembly seat of NA-25 of Nowshera.
Sixty seats in the National Assembly are reserved specifically for women and 10 for non-Muslim minorities.
Asked about the doubts and the allegations, he said: “We will prove ourselves that we did our job right”. Polling was halted at the polling station. His spokesperson Naeemul Haque, however, tweeted that the PTI chief would address the nation today at 2 pm “in celebration and recognition of the massive support received from the people of Pakistan in the 2018 elections which was a contest between the forces of good and evil”.