Imran Khan Leads In Pak, Suggest Trends Amid "Rigging" Charges: 10 Facts

Pakistan's cricketer-turned politician Imran Khan of the Pakistan Tehreek-e Insaf politcal party

Leaders of all political parties other than PTI said voters were not given the required forms on time and that polling agents, party volunteers who monitor the count, had been forced out of polling stations, leaving security officials free, potentially, to tamper with the vote.

These elections are the second in Pakistan's history in which a government was able to complete its term to make way for another government after being ruled by military dictators for half of the 71 years of its existence since its founding in 1947.

Addressing a news conference in northeastern Lahore city, Shehbaz Sharif, president of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) of the three-time premier Nawaz Sharif, said his party "totally" rejected the results, which suggested that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party of former cricket star Imran Khan is going to form the next government.

A decade after Pakistan was last ruled by a military government, the election has been plagued by allegations the powerful armed forces have been trying to tilt the race in Mr Khan's favour after falling out with the outgoing ruling party of Mr Sharif. In addition to the 31 dead, the attack wounded 35 people, said Dr. Jaffar Kakar, a hospital official.

With 48 percent of the vote counted, Khan's PTI was listed by the ECP in its provisional results as leading in contests for 113 of 272 seats that were contested in the National Assembly, or lower house of parliament. "Twenty-two parties said the election was rigged and I was the only one who said there should be an investigation", he added.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the explosion.

Khan has been an outspoken critic of the USA -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.

The ECP was also criticised for deploying the Army both inside and outside of polling stations.

Hamdani said the situation was under control and voting was underway in Col Sher Khan village.

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The outcome of most Pakistani elections has been disputed by losing parties, most recently by PTI in 2013, and the big question in coming days will be if opposition groups will want to launch street protests, said Michael Kugelman, a South Asia specialist at the Woodrow Wilson Center.

Former Pakistan prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi (1,24,703 votes) has lost to PTI's Saddiqui Ali Abbasi (1,36,249 votes) on his home turf NA-57 (Rawalpindi I).

Supporters of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) political party celebrate in Karachi.

But the party of disgraced former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has weighed in rejecting the results, as have a host of smaller parties, all alleging vote-rigging and manipulation. Its spokesman Nadeem Qasim told The Associated Press that Khan violated constitutional provisions on "the secrecy of the ballot paper and his vote could be disqualified because he cast his ballot in front of TV cameras".

However, PML-N leaders pulled no punches. Voting will continue until 6 p.m. local time.

It is common practice in the rural areas of Pakistan where female voters are denied their right; however, the turnover of women voters in urban areas remained comparatively satisfactory in the previous elections.

However, despite the violence and allegations of rigging, observers said this election could have historic repercussions for Pakistani democracy.

It is now fronted by Ms Bhutto's son, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, a 29-year-old Oxford University graduate.

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

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