NEW DELHI, Feb. 11 – Independent candidates, supported by the jailed former prime minister Imran Khan’s party, topped the tally of winners in Thursday’s elections after the Election Commission of Pakistan announced its official results on Sunday.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) supporters secured 102 seats followed by 73 for the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and 54 for the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) of former foreign minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari.

The PTI’s strong showing came despite a crackdown on its members, jailing of senior leaders and denial of the use of the party’s cricket bat electoral symbol.

Imran’s candidates fought as independents on various symbols allotted by the Election Commission.

The National Assembly, the lower of parliament, has a total of 336 seats, with 60 seats reserved for women and 10 for non-Muslims.

As no party has won a simple majority, the new government has to be forged through negotiations among major power brokers, with the powerful military watching behind the scenes.

The Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P), which has won 17 seats, held talks with the PML-N’s top leadership on possible collaboration on Sunday.

It is widely believed that the Pakistani security establishment favours a government led by the PML-N, but the PTI’s better than expected performance and the popular support Imran enjoys present major headaches.


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