(SKY NEWS) – Former cricket star-turned politician Imran Khan has promised to build a “new” Pakistan after declaring victory in the country’s general election.
The leader of Pakistan’s Tehreek-e-Insaf party gave a live-televised address, a day after tens of millions of people cast their ballots in an election marred by violence.
An official result has not yet been announced following delays in counting and allegations of vote rigging.
“We were successful and we were given a mandate,” Mr Khan said.
“All our policies will be focused on bringing up the poorest segment of society.
“No political leader has ever been a victim of as many personal attacks as I have over the last few years but our mission is much bigger than me.
“I say to the people of this country today, we will govern Pakistan like it has never been governed before.”
Mr Khan’s former wife, broadcaster Jemima Goldsmith, tweeted her congratulations to the former Pakistan cricket captain ahead of the official result.
The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), the party of jailed ex-prime minister Nawaz Sharif, has called the count an “assault on democracy” in a country which has a history of military rule.
Mr Sharif’s brother Shehbaz, who leads the PML-N, rejected the vote, calling it “sheer rigging”.
“The way the people’s mandate has blatantly been insulted, it is intolerable,” he said.
“We totally reject this result. It is a big shock to Pakistan’s democratic process.”
In his address, Mr Khan said: “If parties are saying there has been vote rigging, they should name the polling stations and we will open an investigation.”
The election was hit by violence after a suicide bombing outside a polling station in Quetta on Wednesday killed at least 31 people – including five policeman and two children.
Terror group Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack.
It appears likely that Tehreek-e-Insaf will fall short of the 137 seats needed to form a government, raising the prospect Mr Khan’s party will have to find coalition partners.
If successful, the elections will mark only the second time a civilian government has handed power to another in Pakistan since the country’s independence in 1947.