Nawaz Sharif sets for a third term as Pakistan’s Prime Minister as his Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) party took a massive lead over its rivals in early poll results.
Sixty-three year old Sharif had served as premier during 1990-1993 and 1997-1999 but was ousted from office before he could complete his term once on corruption charges and later because of a military coup led by Pervez Musharraf.
After being deposed in 1999, he was jailed and sent into exile to Saudi Arabia.
He returned to Pakistan shortly before the 2008 polls and rebuilt his party, which has also returned to power in Punjab, the country’s most populous and politically crucial province as it has more than half of the seats in the lower house of parliament.
According to provisional results from across the country some 263 of the 272 parliamentary seats that went to the polls show that the PML-N has bagged more than 120 seats, while the Pakistan People Party and Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf are lagging far behind with about 35 seats each.
To win a simple majority, a party or coalition would have to bag 137 of the 272 National Assembly seats for which polls were held.
Another 70 seats, reserved for women and non-Muslims, will be allocated to parties according to their performance in polls. To have a majority 342-member National Assembly, a party or coalition would need 172 seats.
Millions of Pakistanis braved Taliban threats and violence that claimed 29 lives to vote in the landmark general election that marked the first transition from one civilian government to another in the country’s 66-year history.