The conservative party of former Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif looks likely to win Saturday's parliamentary elections, although not with an outright majority of votes.
Officials reported a strong turnout Saturday as Pakistanis chose candidates to fill 272 seats in the General Assembly. Mr. Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League looks to be in the lead, with former cricket player Imran Kahn's Tehrik-i-Insaf, or PTI, in second place.
The Pakistan People's Party, led by the family of slain former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, trails in third place.
With no party headed for an outright majority of seats, Mr. Sharif will need to form a coalition government.
Mr. Sharif declared victory for his party late Saturday, although votes were still being counted. If official results bear him out, Mr. Sharif will likely return to the job he held twice in the 1990s.
Mr. Sharif is appealing to all Pakistani parties to join him in ridding the country of its problems, which include inflation, unemployment, power cuts and a Taliban insurgency.
PTI leader Khan won his seat in parliament, while outgoing Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf lost his.
Elections officials say voter turnout was extremely high. Polling stations were kept open one to three hours later in some places to accommodate all those still waiting to cast ballots.
Scattered election violence left at least 17 people dead. Twin bombings in Karachi killed at least 10 people at a campaign office for the Awami National Party, one of the parties targeted by the Taliban.
This is the first time Pakistan is transitioning from one civilian government that finished a full term to another civilian administration.
Mr. Sharif was Pakistani prime minister from 1990 until 1993 when he forced to resign because of allegations of corruption. He returned to the job in 1997 but was toppled by a military coup two years later.