ISLAMABAD: Hours before the Election Commission of Pakistan declared the election results, cricket legend Imran Khan, leader of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) or Pakistan Movement for Justice, gave a historic speech acknowledging the party's victory.
The elections, which marks the second civilian transfer of power in Pakistan's 70-year history, were marred with unprecedented violence during polls and allegations of 'blatant allegations'.
As the cricketer legend-turned-politician stands on the brink of becoming the country`s prime minister, here are some top quotes from his televised speech on delivered from his house near the capital Islamabad.
1. Speaking on Indo-Pak ties, the Oxford-educated politician asserted that the blame game between the two neighbours, detrimental to the sub-continent, should stop. "If they (India) take one step towards us, we will take two, but at least (we) need a start," 65-year-old Khan said today in his first public address after leading his party to victory in the general elections held yesterday.
2. "I am a person who arguably knows the most people in India because of my days in cricket. We can resolve the poverty crisis in South East Asia. The biggest problem is Kashmir," he said, suggesting that the two sides should come to the table to resolve it.
"We want to improve our relations with India, if their leadership also wants it. This blame game that whatever goes wrong in Pakistan's Balochistan is because of India and vice versa brings us back to square one.
"This is not how we will grow, and it is detrimental to the sub-continent," he added.
3. "Accountability will start with me, then my ministers, and then we will work our way down," Khan said. "I want all of Pakistan to be united in this moment."
4. Speaking on Sino-Pak relation, he said, “We will strengthen our relations with China. They have provided us an opportunity by investing in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor," he said.
5. On Afghanistan, Khan said the Afghan people have suffered most in the "war on terror", and before that in the Afghan jihad. "Peace in Afghanistan means peace in Pakistan," he said, adding that he envisions open borders with Afghanistan reminiscent to those within the European Union.
6. “I want to share the kind of Pakistan I envision - the type of state that was established in Madina, where widows and the poor were taken care of...My inspiration comes from the last Prophet who set up an ideal welfare state in Medina. I want Pakistan to become like that. A humanistic not an animalistic state,” said Khan adding that his guiding principles will be the same adopted by the last Prophet in setting up one of the "greatest civilisations".
7. "I pledge to our people that I will introduce a system that is for the masses, all policies will be for the people and not for the elite. I will live humbly. So far we have seen that everyone who comes to power changes. That will not happen with me.
8. Khan said Pakistan is in "shambles" as a state and the country is facing its "biggest challenge" on the economic front. We are facing governance and economic challenges. Our economy has never been so abysmal. It's because institutions have not been doing their jobs," he said.
"Ours style of governance will be entirely different. The one never seen before. We will work for the betterment of the poor and downtrodden people," he pledged.