Nawaz Sharif set to win Pakistani election

Report from BBC indicates that former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is celebrating with his supporters, amid early signs that his party will be the largest after parliamentary elections.

Media projections based on partial results suggest a big lead for Mr Sharif’s Muslim League, and he has already claimed victory. The election should lead to the country’s first transition from one elected government to another.

The turnout was huge but the poll was marred by violence. In Karachi, the Pakistan Taliban said they planted a bomb which killed 11 people and wounded 40 others. The bomb was placed outside the office of the Awami National Party. There were also attacks in Balochistan and the north-western city of Peshawar.

Of the many surprises thrown up by Pakistani elections, the most important is the possibility that twice Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif could win a straight majority instead of having to cobble together a coalition, as was earlier expected. It will make the job of decision making simpler.

But it will also put Mr Sharif into a tough situation. As an opposition leader, he has distanced himself from the outgoing government’s fight against militancy, and has generally leaned towards the religious right-wing. But with the looming Nato withdrawal from Afghanistan, he will be under pressure to revisit this policy.

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