Leaders of various political parties in India on Sunday welcomed the victory of Pakistan Muslim League0Nawaz (PML-N) leader Nawaz Sharif in the May 11 general elections in Pakistan.
With Sharif close to achieving a majority in the polls, Janata Dal-United leader Sharad Yadav said elections in Pakistan had been held as per established democratic traditions inspite of incidents of sporadic violence in different parts of the country.
"The election has happened in a very democratic way. We have very high expectations of Nawaz Sharif. Relations between India and Pakistan will improve with him at the helm of affairs."
Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader and Union Minister for Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises Praful Patel said in Nandiad: " I believe now we will have a new beginning between India and Pakistan. Things will be better. I believe whatever he has promised during elections, he will complete it."
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said in Srinagar: May God make Nawaz Sharif reach his aim which he initiated when he was last in power. I will request (Prime Minister) Manmohan Singh to extend the hand of friendship towards Pakistan the way Atalji (former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee) did."
"He will have to try to sort out the problems. Unless these two nations join hands, we will keep making parks schools and roads, but the issue of Jammu and Kashmir will not get sorted. We have always tried that relations between both nations improve. We aren't that nation that makes promises and then breaks it," he added.
In Mumbai, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut said: "Nawaz Sharif is a liberal man, he should work on the issue of terrorism and should improve relations internally first, and then work towards improving ties with India and other neighbouring countries."
"Nawaz Sharif should get a chance.Pakistan will become a better country. This will benefit us too," he added.
The comments of the Indian leaders came as Sharif's Pakistan Mulsim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party emerged as the single largest party in the one-day-long elections that were held on Saturday.
Sharif will become Pakistan's prime minister for a record third time.
According to latest media reports, the PML-N has won between 120 to 130 of the 272 directly elected parliamentary seats, while the Imran Khan-led Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) party has 37 seats and others 61 seats. The Pakistan People"s Party (PPP), which is led by President Asif Ali Zardari secured 35 seats.
The May 11 election should lead to the country"s first transition from one elected government to another. The turnout was huge but the poll was marred by violence.
In Karachi, the Pakistan Taliban said they planted a bomb which killed 11 people and wounded 40 others. The bomb was placed outside the office of the Awami National Party. There were also attacks in Balochistan and the north-western city of Peshawar.
Sharif"s victory is largely being attributed to his promises of correcting Pakistan"s energy supply and encouraging economic growth. Since the bulk of his support is confined to Punjab Province, he will need to work for a broader consensus across the country if he is to succeed in meeting these challenges.
An election commission spokesman said they hoped for a voter turnout of between 60 to 80 percent.
In 2008 it was 44 percent.
Sharif political comeback after 14 years is remarkable, considering that he was deposed by General Pervez Musharraf in a coup in 1999 and subsequently put on trial and given a jail sentence. (ANI)