With nearly half the votes counted Khan said the election will give him a chance to fulfill his lifelong dream for the country
27 July, 2018, 10:13
Former cricket star Imran Khan has declared victory in Pakistan's parliamentary election and vowed to run the country "as it has never before been run" by fighting corruption, seeking regional cooperation and forging a new relationship with the U.S. that was not "one-sided".
Imran contested the elections for his political party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and has won it handsomely.
He heads the Pakistan Muslim League, the party of his older brother, former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who is in prison on corruption charges.
Khan has staunchly denied allegations by PML-N that he is getting help from the military, which has ruled Pakistan for about half of its history and still sets key security and foreign policy.
According to ARY news, citing unofficial results, the PTI is leading at 120 seats, while PML-N and PPP are closing in at the second and third positions respectively.
Results from 21 seats are still being counted, reports said.
During a presidential style address on Thursday night, Imran Khan offered to investigate opposition claims of rigging and vowed to improve relations with India and Afghanistan, while calling for "mutually beneficial" ties with the US.
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Khan's party also appears to succeeded in wresting control of the local assembly in Pakistan's biggest province, Punjab, from the Sharifs.
The chief observer of the European Union Election Observation Mission to Pakistan, Michael Gahler, said that apart from a few incidents of terrorism, the overall situation of the general election was quite satisfactory.
An icon of Pakistani cricket and a one-time London playboy who has since transformed himself into a pious, firebrand nationalist, Khan's campaign speeches were littered with anti-America rhetoric and baiting of India.
The two nuclear powers have had a long-running conflict over the disputed region of Kashmir. We're still on Square 1. "This blame game that whatever goes wrong in Pakistan's Balochistan is because of India and vice versa brings us back to square one", he said. "If anyone has proof, we will take action", he said.
Mr Khan's success in the elections is a stunning rise for someone who has spent much of his political career on the fringes of Pakistan politics.
"It is thanks to God we won and we were successful", he said.
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