Islamabad: As the counting of votes started in Pakistan on Wednesday at various polling stations, early leads showed Imran Khan-led Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf ahead of Nawaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz.

According to the trends, the PTI was leading in 74 seats, PML-N in 54 and the Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari-led Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) stood at third position with 27 seats.

The voter turnout was recorded between 50 and 55 per cent of the nearly 106 million electorate, similar to the previous contest in 2013.

TV visuals showed election workers sorting through massive piles of paper ballots at polling stations across the country.

The contest seemed headed for a two-party battle between Khan’s PTI and the incumbent PML-N of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, whose brother Shehbaz is leading its campaign.

As many as 12,570 candidates contested for a total of 849 seats of national and provincial assemblies in the country’s 11th General Election.