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Imran Khan on way to open PM’s innings in Pakistan

Islamabad, July 26: Preliminary and unofficial poll results on Thursday indicated that Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) has obtained a clear edge over the other parties, leading in over 119 National Assembly seats, a day after Pakistan voted for its second consecutive democratic transfer of power. Although PTI workers and supporters started celebrations before the final results, no statement — or even a tweet — has been issued by the former cricketer himself on the results.

His spokesperson Naeemul Haque, however, tweeted that the PTI chief will “address the nation 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”. In Punjab, with preliminary results from polling stations available with the ECP, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz is currently holding its lead on 117 provincial seats but PTI is closing in with a lead on 102 seats. Imran Khan’s party is clearly steering ahead in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa with a lead on 55 seats against Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA), which is currently leading on 7 seats. The preliminary results from Sindh show PPP-P leading on 60 seats, followed by PTI on 14 seats.

In Balochistan, the Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) is leading on 10 provincial seats, followed by the Balochistan National Party (BNP) on seven seats. Counting is still going on at the polling stations of different constituencies. According to PTV news, Imran Khan won his seat from Islamabad against PML-N’s Shahid Khaqan Abbasi. The PTI chief was pitted against former Pakistani Prime Minister Abbasi in the crucial National Assembly seat. The voter turnout was recorded at 50-55 per cent of the nearly 106 million electorate, similar to the previous electoral contest in 2013. Pakistan Peoples Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari also said he had not received any official results from any constituency where he was contesting, despite it being past midnight.

Election Commission secretary Babar Yaqoob flatly denied allegations of vote count manipulation. A single party will need to bag at least 137 of the directly elected seats to be able to form the government on its own. As many as 12,570 candidates were in the electoral fray for a total of 849 seats of national and provincial assemblies in the country’s 11th general election.
Many political bigwigs in Pakistan suffered shocking defeats in the national elections even as votes were still being counted, with former Prime Ministers Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Yousaf Raza Gilani, and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari losing their strongholds. The biggest setback was for Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N)’s Abbasi as he lost both his seats, in Islamabad and his native constituency in Murree. He was defeated by Imran Khan in the capital. Shehbaz Sharif, who had contested from three parliamentary seats – Karachi, Dera Ghazi Khan and Lahore — was defeated by PTI candidates in Karachi and in Dera Ghazi Khan. However, he managed to win the Lahore seat. PPP leader and former PM Gilani lost his home turf in Multan. Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, who was fighting his first political battle from Malakand, lost by a huge margin of 10,000 votes. (IANS)

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