Imran Khan claims victory in Pakistan’s elections amid allegations of vote rigging
Former star cricketer Imran Khan has declared victory in Pakistan's general elections against the party of jailed ex-prime minister Nawaz Sharif amid accusations of vote rigging.
"This will be the first government that will not carry out any political victimization," Khan, 65, said in a televised speech from his house near the capital Islamabad on Thursday as a partial count gave him a commanding lead.
"God has given me a chance to come to power to implement that ideology which I started 22 years ago," he said, adding, "We were successful and we were given a mandate."
The cricket legend called for "mutually beneficial" relationships with Pakistan's on-off ally the United States.
He also offered an olive branch to arch-foe India and said New Delhi and Islamabad should resolve the long-simmering dispute over Kashmir.
Results were still being tallied after supporters of Nawaz Sharif claimed that there were problems with the vote count and the process was an assault on democracy.
With about half the votes counted from Wednesday's elections, Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), or Pakistan Movement for Justice, leads ahead of rivals, the country's election commission said.
Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and rival Pakistan People's Party (PPP) both claimed that their monitors in many voting centers were either kicked out during counting or had not received the official notifications of the precinct's results.
"It is a sheer rigging. The way the people's mandate has blatantly been insulted, it is intolerable," Shehbaz, PML-N president and Nawaz Sharif's brother, told a news conference as the counting continued.
However, Khan said he wanted to "unite" the country and offered to investigate all the vote rigging claims.
A bloody bombing attack on Wednesday cast dark shadows over Pakistan's long-awaited elections day, despite the deployment of hundreds of thousands of troops to secure the vote.
A huge explosion tore through a polling station in the southwestern city of Quetta in Baluchistan province just hours after polls opened. At least 30 lost their lives and dozens more sustained injuries.
The terror group Daesh has claimed responsibility for the explosion. Baluchistan, Pakistan's poorest and most restive province, suffers from violence instigated by several militant groups.
Source: Press TV