Nawaz Sharif's mother dashes to polling station for casting vote

Nawaz Sharif's mother dashes to polling station for casting vote

In the 2013 elections, the PML-N, led by former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, emerged as the largest party with 166 seats out of a total of 342 seats in the National Assembly.

But other voters in Lahore, capital of Punjab and traditionally a PML-N stronghold, said they were abandoning the party in favour of PTI.

In the eastern city of Lahore, capital of Punjab province and the country's political heartland, PTI supporters rejoiced, waving flags and raising party slogans late into the night on Wednesday, as the party celebrated what it considered a sweeping win across the country's 272 National Assembly constituencies.

Sardar Raza Khan defended the hour-long delays in the announcement of the general election results, and ruled out allegations of rigging. Nawaz Sharif was ousted from power previous year and jailed over a corruption conviction days before the vote, removing Khan's most unsafe rival.

The leading contenders in Wednesday's polling are former cricket star Imran Khan and his right-of-centre Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Party, and the right-of-centre Pakistan Muslim League, the party of disgraced Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who is in jail serving 10 years on corruption charges.

The PPP, led by young scion Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, also alleged similar irregularities occurred in constituencies in its stronghold of Sindh province.

Pakistanis began voting in a historic third straight election ending a campaign marred by widespread allegations of manipulation that local and global rights group say imperils the country's wobbly transition to democratic rule.

It ensures that regardless of who wins the election, there is unlikely to be any great deviation from the military's policies and priorities in domestic and foreign affairs, he said.

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan has said that there are "ample grounds" to doubt the legitimacy of the election, a view echoed by Sharif, who described his arrest as motivated by "blind revenge" and said upon his return to Pakistan "what credibility is now left of the elections?"

The ECP was also accused of conducting rigged elections due to non-provision of Form 45, a sheet containing the final vote tally at each polling station.

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The poll outcome could result in a weak coalition government especially at a time when Pakistan urgently needs to address a foreign currency crisis and may also need to approach the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a second bailout in almost five years.

A hospital official said an explosion outside a crowded polling station in the southwestern city of Quetta killed 31 people and wounded 35 more on Wednesday, as Pakistanis voted in general elections.

The military has stationed over 370,000 personnel across Pakistan to ensure security for the election, bolstered by an additional 450,000 police.

Marriyum Aurangzeb said that if the mandate of the PML-N is "stolen", it will not be acceptable to the party's voters. The Pakistan Peoples Party Parliamentarian (PPPP) however did better than expected by securing 42 NA seats.

Pakistan went into polls yesterday.

As per the fresh updates issued by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), the PTI is leading on 84 seats, followed by the PML-N on 58 and the PPP on 29.

"(The bomber) was trying to enter the polling station.

Khan has been an outspoken critic of the US-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.

There were more than 19 million new potential voters, including millions of women.

To form a majority government outright, the contest's victor would need to snatch 137 seats.

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