Imran Khan Leads In Pak, Suggest Trends Amid "Rigging" Charges: 10 Facts

Imran Khan Leads In Pak, Suggest Trends Amid

Imran Khan Leads In Pak, Suggest Trends Amid "Rigging" Charges: 10 Facts

As voting got underway on Wednesday in the southwestern city of Quetta, the Baluchistan provincial capital, militants sent a suicide bomber to a crowding polling station to carry out a deadly attack that killed 31 people.

As per early trends, Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has maintained a commanding lead over its rivals and inching towards the majority mark. The military has ruled Pakistan through various coups for almost half of the country's history since independence in 1947.

Mr Khan's former wife, broadcaster Jemima Goldsmith, tweeted her congratulations to the former Pakistan cricket captain ahead of the official result.

Results are expected by Thursday morning and, at the time of writing, Khan's Pakistan Movement for Justice party is in the lead with 84 National Assembly seats out of 272, followed by Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League with 52.

Analysts have expressed concern that disgruntled losers could create instability for the incoming new government, which will face mounting challenges including a crumbling economy, a crippling debt and a raging militancy.

Chief Election Commissioner Sardar Mohammad Raza has denied the accusations saying "elections were 100 percent transparent and fair".

Khan campaigned on populist promises to build a "New Pakistan" and vowed to eradicate corruption, clean up the environment and construct an "Islamic welfare" state.

Supporters of cricket star-turned-politician Imran Khan chairman of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf waves
Image A supporter of Imran Khan in Pakistan

Shahbaz Sharif, the brother of jailed former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, called this the "dirtiest election" he has ever seen. Let us have a look at the life and political career of the bold cricketer-turned-politician, Imran Khan, who campaigned immensely on the creation of "new Pakistan".

Less than two weeks before polling day, Sharif returned to Pakistan from the United Kingdom to face a ten year sentence for corruption that made him ineligible from participating in politics.

Sharif's party tops another poll with 26 percent compared to 25 percent for Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI).

Khan, 65, has hailed Sharif's conviction on corruption charges this month as proof democracy is maturing in the nuclear-armed Muslim-majority nation of 208 million by finally holding its venal political elite accountable.

Throughout the night, Mr Khan's supporters celebrated outside party offices nationwide.

Other major parties also alleged fraud, including the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), whose chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari echoed the PML-N's claim that party representatives were barred from monitoring the count.

"Despite being imprisoned, I am witnessing your passion and listening to your chants to respect the vote", Sharif said Wednesday in a message to supporters from Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi. The ECP was also criticised for deploying the Army both inside and outside of polling stations. PTI has not ruled out seeking succor from China, Islamabad's closest ally. He, however, acknowledged that the delay in announcement of election results had "caused some annoyance". Among those making the accusations was PML-N leader Nawaz Sharif, who was ousted as prime minister after a Supreme Court verdict in the Panama Papers investigation past year.

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