Lahore - Cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan from hospital bed on Sunday welcomed the high turnout in elections as a step forward for democracy, but claimed ‘foul play’ on the polling day and vowed to submit a report on alleged vote-rigging shortly.

Khan, who fell from a hoist raising him to the stage at an election rally in Lahore last Tuesday, made these remarks in a televised statement 17 hours after his main rival, Nawaz Sharif, declared victory.

The PTI chief stated he was really hurt by rigging in elections, especially after seeing the enthusiasm of the youth. In reference to skewing of the ballot, he said, “God willing, we will issue a white paper”.

Khan however thanked all the voters and supporters of his party, stating it was a big change that people turned up at polling stations in massive numbers in a bid to bring ‘change’. “I congratulate the entire nation for taking part in such a massive democratic process. We are moving forward on the path of democracy,” he said.

“Even those people who never voted in their life came out and the entire nation is happy to see it. Now there is awareness among the people of Pakistan that their fate is in their hands,” the 60-year-old said as he spoke of satisfaction about the participation of young people and women in greater numbers establishing a new chapter in the country’s democratic history.

Khan said the PTI had played a revolutionary role by mobilising the youth and women segments of society on the polling day who otherwise took no interest in the vital process of polling. “There is usually victory and defeat, but all the pain of this defeat evaporated after I saw enthusiasm in youth,” he added.

“I also thank our women. Never in the history of Pakistan have women come out and voted in such a big number. It is heartening to see that they have also contributed to efforts to make a new Pakistan,” said Khan.

Khan’s PTI is projected to win more than 30 seats and become the second largest party in the new assembly, a remarkable achievement given that it only won one seat previously, in 2002.