Pakistan blast kills at least 31 on election day, hospital says

Pakistan blast kills at least 31 on election day, hospital says

Pakistan blast kills at least 31 on election day, hospital says

Khan's camp was increasingly confident, but it still appeared likely to fall short of a clear majority in the National Assembly.

Early projections from four local TV channels all put Khan's party ahead, estimating it would win between 94 and 102 of 272 elected seats available, while Sharif's outgoing ruling party was estimated at between 40 and 58. However, those projections were based on only about 20 percent of votes counted. "Prime Minister Imran Khan".

Shehbaz Sharif, leader of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and brother of the ousted prime minister, early on Thursday rejected the counting process as results were still trickling out and no victor had been declared but projections showed a strong lead for Khan.

The PML-N, on the other hand, says it is the target of the alleged military machinations, with candidates under pressure and Sharif jailed over a corruption conviction days before the vote.

The vote was a rare democratic transition in Pakistan, which has been ruled by the powerful military for roughly half its history. The main contest is expected to be between three mainstream political parties and a five-party religious alliance.

A suicide bombing in the southwestern city of Quetta, claimed by Daesh (the so-called IS), killed at least 31 people and cast a shadow over voting day. The attack was claimed by Islamic State militants.

PPP leaders recently have joined PML-N in decrying "pre-poll rigging" involving restricted campaigning, quashed media coverage and candidates intimidated by military officers to change allegiance to Khan.

Here's hoping the people who count your votes, let your vote count.

"This is the warning bell of a serious threat", said PPP senator Sherry Rehman. "In the past we have seen such referendums not election", the PSP leader sarcastically remarked.

Several smaller parties made similar complaints in public statements.

Imran Khan wants to create a 'New Pakistan,' many fear more of the same

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

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

Pakistan Muslim League chief Shahbaz Sharif cast his vote in the eastern city of Lahore soon after polls opened in national elections.

"I ask everyone today - be a citizen, cherish this country, worry about this country, use your vote".

It also documented widespread censorship of the news press, in line with allegations that the military had intimidated journalists when reporting on politics and security issues.

Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party has inched ahead of PML-N in recent national polls, but even if it gets the most votes, it will likely struggle to win a majority, raising the prospect of weeks of haggling to form a messy coalition government.

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. PTI has not ruled out seeking succor from China, Islamabad's closest ally.

Sharif's PML-N has been touting its delivery of mega infrastructure projects, especially roads and power stations that helped hugely reduce electricity blackouts, as proof the country is on the path to prosperity.

The comments by the PML-N president came amidst strenuous reservations expressed by other mainstream political parties over the polling process and delay of election results.

Marriyum Aurangzeb said that if the mandate of the PML-N is "stolen", it will not be acceptable to the party's voters.

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