KARACHI (AFP) – Imran Khan s former teammates and rivals have congratulated the World Cup winner after his party won the most seats in Pakistan s election.
The Election Commission said Friday that Khan s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party enjoyed a strong lead over the outgoing Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) but short of an overall majority.
Khan will likely need to enter into a coalition to form a government.
“Congratulating the new Prime Minister of our country,” tweeted ex-bowler Wasim Akram, who was part of Pakistan s 1992 World Cup winning side captained by Khan.
Wasim had thrown his support behind Khan, 65, in the run-up to the election.
“It was in your leadership skip @ImrankhanPTI that we became world champions in 1992. It is in your leadership that we can again become a great democratic country,” he wrote on Twitter.
Wasim s new ball partner Waqar Younis — who also flourished under Khan s tutelage — praised the leader-elect s live broadcast to the nation on Thursday in which he claimed victory in the election.
“A special speech from a Great Leader..Very simple, honest and practical..Feeling so proud to be a student of such a Mentor.. Congratulations Skipper,” he tweeted.
Another member of Pakistan s triumphant World Cup squad Ramiz Raja also lavished praise on Khan, considered one of Pakistan s best ever all-rounders.
“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,” Raja posted on Twitter.
Khan, who vowed to improve relations with arch-rival India in his first comments following Wednesday s polls, also received praise from across the border.
“Imran is the epitome of setting the bar high and reaching it. Congratulations & good luck to my cricketing hero, Imran Khan!” tweeted former Indian batsman Sanjay Manjrekar, who scored a double hundred against a Khan-led Pakistan in 1989.
Ex-Indian all-rounder Kapil Dev, who was a contemporary of Khan, tipped the former right-arm fast bowler to “deliver” as Pakistani leader in a TV interview.
“It looks nice that a cricketer and one who we know is going to be the PM,” said Dev.
Current Pakistan players Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Hafeez also posted messages on Twitter.
“Congrats to @ImranKhanPTI i hope u guys will do the best for Pakistan,” tweeted Amir.
“Ma Shaa Allah (God has willed) @ImranKhanPTI U done it once again. Long marathon struggle against corruption. A man of strong belief,” wrote Hafeez.