Pakistan’s former PM Nawaz Sharif claims victory in elections

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Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Friday claimed victory in national elections, saying that his Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party has emerged as the largest in the results.

Sharif said, ” We need 10 years of stability to get out of this crisis,” adding, “We have removed the country from difficult times before, will do it again.”

Meanwhile, candidates from the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party and their supporters protested outside the office of a Returning Officer against the delay of election results in the eastern city of Lahore.

Independents backed by jailed former Prime Minister Imran Khan won the most seats in Pakistan’s election after results from over half the constituencies were announced, leaving political parties trailing.

Almost 24 hours have passed since the close of polls and the results have been unusually delayed, which the government ascribed to the suspension of mobile phone services.

Khan is in jail and his PTI party was barred from the election, so his supporters contested as independents.

Analysts have predicted there may be no clear winner, adding to the woes of a country struggling to recover from an economic crisis while it grapples with rising militant violence in a deeply polarised political environment.