India's PM Modi congratulates Imran Khan on election victory

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The PTI, while 22 seats short of a clear majority, is certain to form the government with the help of independents, who have won 13 seats, and some smaller parties. The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), led by Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, the son of assassinated two-time prime minister Benazir Bhutto, was third with 43 seats. Opponents allege it intervened directly in vote counts.

What is clear is the religious right, represented by the Jamiat Ulema Islam-Fazl (JUI-F), Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), and others largely failed at the polls, winning just 13 seats nationwide.

We condemn the horrific acts of terrorist violence that marred this process, including the latest attack outside a polling station in Quetta on election day. There will be protests...

"First, there is new leadership in Pakistan", said US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in an interview with CNBC television on Monday.

"(PML-N) would play the role of a strong opposition", said Shehbaz Sharif, the PML-N president and brother of Nawaz Sharif, according to the English-language Dawn newspaper.

"I fully agree with it".

Reports had said that Imran's PTI was considering inviting the leaders of the SAARC countries including Modi to his oath taking ceremony in August.

The vote was meant to be a rare democratic transition in the Muslim country, which has been ruled by the powerful army for roughly half its history.

Sharif was ousted from power a year ago and jailed over a corruption conviction days before the vote, removing Khan's most unsafe rival.

Pakistan's economy is teetering on the brink of a balance-of-payments crisis; sooner or later, and probably sooner, the new government will have to turn to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for support.

"Ghani told Imran that Pakistan and Afghanistan have historic relations and invited him for a tour of the country", he said.

Briefing about the party's strength for forming a government in the province, PTI Spokesperson Fawad Chaudhry said that with the joining of 10 more independents on Monday, the PTI's number had reached 149.

The Dawn reported that Former secretary general of the PTI Jahangir Tareen had established contacts with independents and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) which has won six seats.

Some analysts and commentators have said Pakistan's democracy has been weakened by meddling by the armed forces.

The Indian statement, however, did not refer to "terror-free atmosphere", the standard language template for New Delhi's response to Pakistan's overtures over the last two years.

The former cricketer campaigned on populist promises to build an Islamic welfare state to improve the woeful heath and social care available to most.