Polls close in Pakistan with former cricket captain Imran Khan tipped for victory

Polls close in Pakistan with former cricket captain Imran Khan tipped for victory

Comments Off on Polls close in Pakistan with former cricket captain Imran Khan tipped for victory



Polls have closed in Pakistan ahead of the election of its next prime minister, with tens of millions thought to have cast ballots.

The voting came to a close on Wednesday after a suicide bombing outside a polling station in the city of Quetta, which killed at least 31 people – including five policemen and two children.

It was the third attack of what has been a violent campaign, which is expected to end with a narrow victory of former Pakistan cricket captain Imran Khan.

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A supporter of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf waves the party flag outside a polling station in Karachi

But in what has been a tight race, it is likely that his centre-right Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party will have to form a coalition if he wants to govern.

One vote he may not be able to count on is his own, with a spokesman for the national election commission revealing that it could be disqualified because he cast his ballot in front of television cameras.

His main opponent is the three-time former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, who was arrested on corruption charges when he landed in Lahore from London earlier this month.

Shehbaz Sharif, brother of ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and leader of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), talks with his supporters on his arrival at a polling station to cast vote during general election in Lahore, Pakistan July 25, 2018. REUTERS/Mohsin Raza
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Shehbaz Sharif, brother of ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and leader of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz

Since then he has been campaigning from prison in Islamabad and is reported to be suffering from health issues.

In his place as candidate for the centre-right Pakistan Muslim League is his younger brother, Shahbaz Sharif.

Members of the bomb disposal unit survey the site after a suicide blast, in Quetta
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Members of the bomb disposal unit survey the site after a suicide blast, in Quetta

The third-largest party in contention is the left-leaning Pakistan People’s Party, headed by Bilawal Bhutto.

He is the son of late prime minister Benazir Bhutto, who was assassinated by Pakistan’s Taliban militants, whom she had vowed to eradicate.

Results are expected at around 2am local time on Thursday (9pm on Wednesday in the UK).



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