The legendary cricketer is likely to be elected prime minister Imran Khan. Imran Khan, a former cricketer, is in line to become Pakistan’s next prime minister after his party won the most seats in the nation’s parliamentary elections, according to all official results.
According to Pakistan’s electoral commission, Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party received 115 of the 270 seats up for election on Wednesday, falling short of a clear victory in the National Assembly. The voting process was tainted by violence, including a fatal suicide assault and accusations of election tampering from opposing parties.
The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) won 43 seats, placing it second behind the incumbent Pakistan Muslim League (PML), which won 64 seats. On Friday, opposition parties said that they would reject the results and seek fresh elections.
Analysts assert that Khan does not need to join forces with extreme religious groups, as some had anticipated, and can instead build an alliance with independent national and small regional assembly members. In the nation’s history, this is the second democratic transition that led to his victory.
On Thursday, Khan, who ran on a populist anti-corruption platform, had already declared victory and promised to reshape the country and improve Pakistan’s public institutions. Corrupt practices were “eating away this country like a cancer,” he claimed.
He promised to put an end to decades of what he called the corruption and misgovernance of the Sharif and Bhutto families. His victory has also been largely hailed as historic because it ended Pakistan’s long-standing two-party system of rule.
Khan skillfully used his celebrity to segue into a political career in a country that was infatuated with cricket, creating the PTI, also known as the Justice Party, in 1996. Khan and his anti-graft message resonated with young and middle-class Pakistanis, which he was counting on for the PTI’s success as a regional party. As he articulated his ideas for a “new Pakistan” at a time when the nation’s middle class was growing frustrated with an economy on the verge of collapse, Khan’s popularity soared in recent years. Debt levels are still high, inflation is ongoing, and the currency has spiraled.
Khan was also largely seen as the military’s preferred choice, given the military has had a significant impact on politics and has ruled Pakistan directly for almost half of its independent history since 1947.
He was a passionate opponent of the US war on terror, especially its use of drone attacks in Pakistan, which not only killed Pakistani people but also attacked terrorist networks.
Khan may or may not continue to criticize Donald Trump-led Washington as long as the Pakistani military cooperates with the US.
What remains to be seen is how much autonomy a Khan-led administration will enjoy while being closely watched by the military.
More than half of the nation’s 71-year history was spent directly under military administration, and the army still has enormous authority and influence.
Some detractors claim that military generals were trying to tip the election in Khan’s favor. With Khan now in office, military-friendly measures are anticipated from him.
Amid allegations of election tampering, Imran Khan waits for confirmation of his victory.
The 65-year-old populist’s apparent triumph has been heralded as historic for upending the two-party duopoly that has controlled national politics for decades. The populist ran as a “change” candidate, determined to create a “new Pakistan.”
His anti-graft message resonated with disaffected young and middle-class Pakistanis, and he capitalized on his enormous popularity as a sports personality and the PTI’s success as a provincial party.
However, the postponed election results have heightened accusations of electoral tampering against every political party except Khan. Some say that their monitors were asked to leave polling places before final tallies were received or that they never received final counts.
Michael Kugelman, a South Asia scholar at the Wilson Center in the US, warned that there would be a significant disturbance if the people take to the streets.
There might be a sizable crowd on the streets considering that, excluding the PTI, it seems like every political party in Pakistan has accused the other of fraud.
The main observer from the European Parliament, Michael Gahler, stated that there had been a deliberate campaign to discredit the ruling party on Friday afternoon before the announcement of the final results.
Gahler advised, “those who wish to protest results to do so through legal procedures” when asked about allegations of vote-rigging.
The referendum, which marked Pakistan’s second democratic transition in 71 years, was also overshadowed by hundreds of political arrests, a significant crackdown on the media, and rising tensions over claims that the powerful military secretly supported Khan.
After being removed from power last year because of allegations of corruption, former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was arrested earlier this month.
Shahbaz Sharif, the head of the Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N), the party now in power, claimed on Twitter that there had been “huge rigging” in Khan’s favor.
The son of the late leader Benazir Bhutto and head of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, also said on Twitter that he will reject the results due to suspicions of vote-rigging, calling it “inexcusable (and) scandalous.”
Since many Pakistanis welcomed Khan’s proclamation of victory with hope, opposition to the outcome may also be restricted.
Khan received much praise for his statesmanlike performance, which put aside partisan rivalry and advocated for cooperation in addressing Pakistan’s impending economic catastrophe.
The Dawn newspaper, which took the lion’s share of the pre-election media crackdown, pushed for inter-party harmony.
It stated in an editorial that “Imran Khan’s acceptance speech yesterday was an optimistic sign.” “Opposition parties should use official avenues to voice their grievances and protests.”
Many people are willing to give the Imran Khan administration a fair shot
Academic Nadir Cheema, who is based in London, declared that while he disagreed with PTI’s conservative policies and its ties to the military establishment, he would respect the outcome.
Instead of none at all, he declared, “I accept the weakest kind of democracy despite the pre-poll rigging, intimidation, and an uneven playing field.”
The next prime minister of Pakistan, an Islamic republic with 207 million citizens, will face a severe debt crisis and a volatile political climate.
The relationship between the nuclear-armed state and China, which has funded multibillion-dollar infrastructure projects in South Asia, as well as the United States, which has stopped military funding owing to Islamabad’s alleged support for the Taliban in neighboring Afghanistan, is also uncertain.