*Election official says full results delayed by technical glitch
Pakistani cricket legend Imran Khan declared victory on Thursday in the general election, and said he was ready to lead the nuclear-armed nation despite a long delay in ballot counting and allegations of vote-rigging from his main opponents.
His success in Wednesday's election is a stunning rise for an anti-corruption crusader who has spent much of his political career on the fringes of Pakistan politics, but now stands on the brink of becoming the country's prime minister.
"God has given me a chance to come to power to implement that ideology which I started 22 years ago," Khan, 65, said in a televised speech from his house near the capital Islamabad.
Supporters of jailed former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, who accuse Khan of colluding with the still powerful army, said the vote count was rigged.
Oxford-educated Khan called for "mutually beneficial" ties with the United States, and offered an olive branch to India, saying the two nations should resolve their long-simmering dispute over Kashmir.
In a speech , Khan promised to create jobs for the poor and said he would turn the palatial prime minister's official residence in the capital into an education facility instead of living in it.
With about half the votes counted, Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), or Pakistan Movement for Justice, had a wide lead, the country's election commission said.
Khan has staunchly denied allegations by PML-N that he is getting help from the military, which has ruled Pakistan for about half of its history.
The army dismissed allegations of meddling. Khan offered to investigate all the allegations of rigging and said he wants to "unite" the country under his leadership.
Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) secretary Babar Yaqoob told reporters early Thursday that counting had been delayed by technical failures in an electronic reporting system and the tallying was now being conducted manually. The results had been due by around 2am on Wednesday.
By early Thursday evening, a full day after polls closed, he told reporters 82% of results had been received and rejected the allegations of tampering in the vote count.
"The complaints we have been receiving, they could be of procedural level, but not any kind of rigging," Yaqoob said.
With 48% of the total vote counted, Khan's PTI was listed by the ECP in its provisional results as leading in 113 of 272 contested National Assembly constituencies.
Sharif's PML-N was ahead in 64 constituencies, and the PPP, led by Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, the son of assassinated two-time prime minister Benazir Bhutto, led in 42 constituencies.
Although Khan still appeared likely to fall short of the 137 seats needed for a majority in the National Assembly, he should have no problems finding coalition partners from smaller parties and independents.
Pakistan's election monitoring body and the European Union's were scheduled to deliver their assessments of the conduct of the election Friday.
Khan's overtures to New Delhi included calls for better trade ties and to sit down and discuss Kashmir, a disputed region that was the cause of two of the three wars between the neighbours.
Khan also said he wants deepen ties with old ally Beijing and emulate China's success in reducing poverty.
Investors welcomed Khan's election success, with Pakistan's benchmark 100-share index surging as much as 1.9% to 42,136 points in early trade, before closing 1.8% up.
Khan has promised an "Islamic welfare state".