Islamabad: Nawaz Sharif's PML-N has emerged as the single largest party in Pakistan's landmark general elections with 123 of the 272 Parliamentary seats but fell short of a majority and would form a government with support of independents and smaller parties.
The PML-N's two closest rivals the Pakistan People's Party and Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf lagged far behind with 32 and 27 seats, respectively.
Earlier, trends from the counting of votes had shown that the PML-N led by former premier Nawaz Sharif was set to bag about 125 seats.
A total of 137 directly elected seats are needed for a simple majority and the PML-N is expected to form government at the centre with the backing of independent candidates and one or two smaller parties.
The PML-N won a majority of its seats from Punjab, four from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, and one each from Sindh and the federal capital.
The PPP, which led the last government, was virtually wiped out in Punjab, winning only two seats in the province.
Several top PPP leaders, including former ministers like Qamar Zaman Kaira and Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar, were defeated in Punjab.
The Muttahida Qaumi Movement, which was a key partner in the last PPP-led government, bagged 18 seats while Maulana Fazlur Rehman's Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam won 10 seats in the National Assembly or lower house of parliament.
The PML-F won four seats and the Jamaat-e-Islami three seats, while the PML-Q, formed by former military ruler Pervez Musharraf, Pashtunkhwa Milli Awami Party and National People's Party bagged two seats each.
The Awami National Party, Qaumi Watan Party-Sherpao,
Awami Jamhoori Ittehad Pakistan, Musharraf’s All Pakistan Muslim League, Awami Muslim League, Balochistan National Party, National Party and PML-Z won one seat each.
Independent candidates bagged 26 seats.
The Election Commission announced the results for only 256 parliamentary seats, saying results were awaited from other constituencies in Balochistan, Punjab and Sindh provinces and the tribal areas.
The poll panel further said there would be re-polling in some polling stations of one constituency while polls had not been held in three constituencies for various reasons, including the death of candidates.
To win a simple majority, a party or coalition needs 137 of the 272 directly elected seats in the National Assembly for which polls were held on May 11.
Another 70 seats, reserved for women and non-Muslims, will be allocated to parties according to their performance in the polls.
To have a majority in the 342-member National Assembly, a party or coalition will need 172 seats.
The 102-member Senate or upper house of the parliament is currently controlled by the PPP.