Congratulatory messages have been pouring in for Imran Khan after the Pakistani cricketer-turned-politician claimed victory in the country's assembly election on Thursday.
Khan-led Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) had won 119 seats out of a potential 272 seats as of Thursday evening (6 pm IST) and it wasn't clear if the center-right party would be able to claim majority to form a government without a coalition.
Khan's PTI had faced strong competition from Pakistan Muslim League-N, led by Shahbaz Sharif, brother of jailed former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and Pakistan People's Party, led by Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, son of late leader Benazir Bhutto.
Both the parties accused Khan's PTI of rigging the elections even as Khan gave his first address to the public following Wednesday's election, which is only the second democratic transition in Pakistan's history.
Khan's ex-wife from Britain, took to Twitter on Thursday to post an emotional message, congratulation the father of her two sons — Sulaiman Isa Khan and Qasim Khan.
"22 years later, after humiliations, hurdles and sacrifices, my sons' father is Pakistan's next PM. It's an incredible lesson in tenacity, belief & refusal to accept defeat. The challenge now is to remember why he entered politics in the 1st place. Congratulations (sic)," Goldsmith wrote.
Royal statement from royal lady .. thanks ?..— Shoaib Akhtar (@shoaib100mph) July 26, 2018
22 years later, after humiliations, hurdles and sacrifices, my sons’ father is Pakistan’s next PM. It’s an incredible lesson in tenacity, belief & refusal to accept defeat. The challenge now is to remember why he entered politics in the 1st place. Congratulations @ImranKhanPTI— Jemima Goldsmith (@Jemima_Khan) July 26, 2018
Notably, Khan was married to Jemima when he floated his political party in 1996, four years after retirement from international cricket. The couple got separated in 2005 but have reportedly maintained a healthy relationship ever since.
Despite being one of the most celebrated cricketers in the globe, let alone Pakistan, the 65-year-old did not find instant success in his second innings — politics. Khan's PTI faced multiple failures before getting second largest vote share in the 2013 elections.
The World Cup-winning former Pakistan captain, who is all set to become the 19th prime minister of his country, has received similar warm messages from his former teammates.
Kapil, Bedi wish Imran
Former Indian cricketers Kapil Dev and Bishan Singh Bedi also wished the would be Pakistan prime minister luck.
Dev heaped praise on Khan's passion and urged him to help improve the strained bilateral ties between the two cricket-crazy countries.
"It's a huge achievement. The game of cricket is nothing before the country. He was passionate when he won the world and he is still the same. It took him 25 years to reach here. I hope his success should be utilised for the betterment of his nation," Dev told ABP.
"It a great feeling to have represented your nation on the cricket field and then become its supreme leader. So many players have been in different political position, but no one has got to such a big post," he added.
"Since Imran has been a cricketer, he probably like to improve the conditions. Even the cricketer fraternity agrees to it. But the conditions off the field should be improved first."
"He has been to India many times and he knows our love for cricket. He might focus on bettering the diplomacy between both the nations. And if it could be done with the help of cricket then we cricketers will be very glad."
IBTimes, India has compiled a list of reactions to Imran's brilliant show in the assembly elections. Check them out here.
Since I know Imran khan well so I hope he will do what he has been saying all these years particularly indo pak relations @ImranKhanPTI— Rajeev Shukla (@ShuklaRajiv) July 26, 2018
All my prayers and wishes for our new PM...But we all have to strive together to achieve for better pakistan. It’s our pakistan and we all are accountable and responsible. Allah bless all @ImranKhanPTI— Saqlain Mushtaq (@Saqlain_Mushtaq) July 26, 2018
Who could be a bigger and better example of a leader than Imran Khan, who as a super star had the world at his feet and yet elbow greased for 22 years to work for his objective and vision..he’s special and we are proud to have him as our Prime Minister..— Ramiz Raja (@iramizraja) July 26, 2018
Somewhere Arjuna Ranatunga is joyfully watching Imran Khan, because in four years time it will surely be his turn to shine.— Andrew Fidel Fernando (@andrewffernando) July 26, 2018
@ImranKhanPTI is best news for Pakistan-Proudest Pakistani I’ve ever known will b at helm politically-the Crktr n him must ensure ‘fair fr all’ Nizam-no 1 ever worked harder on Crkt as Imran-let’s hope he’s allowed to do same on Pol turf..Congrats @ImranKhanPTI-Allah REHM Kareh!— Bishan Bedi (@BishanBedi) July 26, 2018