Imran Khan’s party-backed independents pose tough challenge to Sharif’s PML-N

In total 266 National Assembly seats were up for grabs out of 336, but polling was postponed on at least one seat after a candidate was killed in a gun attack in Bajaur.Another 60 seats are reserved for women and 10 for minorities, and are allotted to the winning parties based on proportional representation.A party must win 133 seats out of 265 being contested to form the next government.Private TV channels began reporting results on the basis of partial counting, which showed that Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and PTI-supported independent candidates were neck-in-neck in the most populous Punjab province, which sends almost half of the representatives to the National Assembly.In most of the constituencies, the candidates of the two parties were either leading or in second place.Sharif and his younger brother Shehbaz were leading in their respective seats from Lahore.In Sindh, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) candidates were leading in most of the constituencies, with its leaders Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and Asif Ali Zardari ahead in their constituencies.But the situation in Karachi, the capital of Sindh with 22 National Assembly seats, was different and Muttahida Qaumi Movement and PTI candidates were performing better.In Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, independent candidates supported by the PTI were leading in several constituencies.Former PTI minister Ali Muhammad Khan was leading in the Mardan area, while former PTI speaker of the National Assembly, Asad Qaisar, was leading in Swabi.All the results so far reported by the media channels are unofficial and may drastically change as counting progresses.The official results of a constituency is announced by the relevant returning officer after tabulating complete results of all polling stations in that constituency.

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