Results confirm big win for Sharif in Pakistan poll
Official partial results released Tuesday confirmed a convincing victory for the party of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif in Saturday's election.
With 18 of the 272 directly elected seats in the national assembly still to be declared, Sharif's centre-right Pakistan Muslim League-N party had 123, the election commission said.
Sharif's victory means that his party will likely only need the support of independents to secure an overall majority in the legislature.
The partial results show the outgoing Pakistan People's Party suffered a crushing defeat, dropping from 95 directly elected seats to 31 as of Tuesday.
But cricket star Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party moved into third place on 26 seats compared to none in the last assembly.
Khan electrified the campaign with his calls for a new Pakistan, galvanising the youth and urban middle class in particular with promises to end corruption, introduce tax reform and stand up to the Americans.
He promised a "tsunami" that would sweep him into power, but has now vowed to go into opposition and try to form a government in the Taliban-hit northwestern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
If the PPP remains the second largest party after all seats are declared, it will probably inherit the official position as leader of the opposition. It was unclear when final results would be announced.
The secular Muttahida Qaumi Movement, which controls Pakistan's largest city of Karachi, has so far dropped from 25 to 18 seats in the national assembly.
The secular Awami National Party which ruled in the northwest and has its power base rooted in the ethnic Pashtun community, was wiped out -- going from 13 seats to one as of Tuesday.
The national assembly has 342 members. Another 60 seats reserved for women and 10 for religious minorities will later be apportioned to various parties, depending on their share of the directly elected seats.