Islamabad, Feb 19: Counting is underway for the elections that were held in Pakistan on Monday. Early trends seem to indicate that the Musharraf-backed PML(Q) is doing badly but there are no clear indications on the race between the two main opposition parties that spells trouble for President Musharraf. Early counting in Pakistan polls 2008 shows that so far there is no clear winner, though former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto's party appears to have taken a narrow lead, according to preliminary results.
The early counting indicate a neck and neck race between the two main opposition parties -- the Nawaz Sharif led Pakistan Muslim League (N) and the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) of assassinated former prime minister Benazir Bhutto with Nawaz Sharif's party slightly ahead, mainly because the results that have come in are from Punjab province.
While the Election Commission is yet to officially announce the turnout or any of the results, the initial trends do not augur well for Musharraf. What has, however, emerged is that the ruling PML-Q, which backs Musharraf, seems to be the clear loser. As was expected, the PML-N and PPP have shown leads in Punjab and Sindh – the native provinces of the parties" leaders, Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto.
Early counting results so far indicates that President Pervez Musharraf and his supporters from the PML-Q are struggling while both the PML(N) and the PPP are neck to neck.
The count at 12:30 pm stood as follows:
PPP - 77
PML(N) - 62
PML (Q) - 34
MQM, or the Muttahida Quami Movement - 16
Awami National party - 10
PPP (S) The Shahid Bhutto Faction - 1
PML(F) led by Sherpao - 4
Independents - 21
Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's party has shown as results from Monday's balloting flowed in. Sharif's PML-N has won 59 seats, against 59 for the PPP. The PML-Q is a distant third with 23 seats. Till Monday night, the vote count had gone in the PML-N's favour at 35 seats to the PPP's 30. Sharif told an Indian TV channel that he was happy with the election trends.
Just 40 percent of the country's 81 million eligible voters cast their vote yesterday, in an election, that saw 19 people dead and about a hundred others injured.