Former national cricket team captain and longtime opposition leader Imran Khan claimed victory in Pakistan's fraught election Thursday.
Unofficial results indicate that his party, Pakistan Tehreek e-Insaf, is leading in more than 110 seats in the National Assembly, while the rival and incumbent Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) is currently leading in nearly 70.
Khan called the election "historic," addressing the nation from the outskirts of the capital Islamabad. "I say this in front of you today... We will run Pakistan in a way in which it has never been run before, deliver the kind of governance never delivered before."
Khan's opponents, including the PML-N and the Pakistan People's Party (PPP), are rejecting the outcome.
Official results are yet to be released, but this year's contest — only the second democratic election in a country ruled by the military for almost half its history — will leave a legacy marred with violence, arrests, and allegations of vote rigging, harassment and suppression by military and security forces that activists say was meant to push Khan's party to victory.
In his speech, Khan promised he would address all rigging allegations and that his government would investigate all rigging complaints. The former athlete has long cast himself as a crusader against the state's entrenched corruption, promising to fight poverty and turn the country of 208 million into an "Islamic welfare state."