Pakistan faces days of political horse-trading after the final few election results released early Saturday showed no clear majority, but a strong performance by independent candidates loyal to jailed former Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) defied a monthslong crackdown that crippled campaigning and forced their candidates to run as independents with a combined showing in Thursday's election that still challenged their chief rivals.

But after long delays in results that prompted further allegations that the military establishment had engaged in vote-rigging, the army-backed Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) declared victory as the party with the largest number of seats.