Pakistan’s populist leader ‘sure’ of winning elections

Pakistan needs a strong and credible government in the wake of forthcoming general elections to steer the South Asian nuclear state out of simmering political and economic predicaments, the country's populist leader Imran Khan said.

The status-quo parties have disappointed the nation in last 70 years. They (parties) have enjoyed power several times one after other but they failed to deliver. That's why, the nation is eagerly looking for a new option this time, Khan, a former cricket hero, told Anadolu Agency in an exclusive interview.

He was referring to the two mainstream political parties -- center-left Pakistan People's Party (PPP) of slain prime minister Benazir Bhutto and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) of three times premier Nawaz Sharif -- which have ruled the country four and three times respectively since 1970.

His right-wing Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) scents victory in July 25 elections. The party seems to emerge as the majority group in the northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkha (KP) province, where it ruled from 2013 to 2018.

It, however, appears to be neck-to-neck with PML-N in Punjab, the country's largest province and the political powerbase. Analysts see PTI's emergence as a populist party in Punjab, which has been a stronghold of PML(N).

Only a strong government can pull the country out of simmering problems ranging from economy to foreign policy and from law and order to development, Khan said in response to a question about his course of action in case of a hung parliament on July 25.

I am sure, Insha'Allah (God willing), we will be in a position to form the government single handedly or with the help of a few coalition partners. But let me make it clear, those coalition partners will neither be PML(N) nor PPP, Khan, who had won the only cricket world cup for Pakistan in 1992, maintained.

These two parties have looted the country. Instead of forming the government with their help, I will prefer to sit on opposition benches, he added.

Rejecting concerns raised by several political parties -- including PML-N and PPP -- over fairness of upcoming elections, Khan said the two parties had sensed their defeat. That's why they were trying to create a controversy about fairness as a preemptive step, he added.

Fighting corruption

Khan's opponents accuse the country's powerful army of manipulating and engineering the forthcoming elections to install his government -- a charge PTI has rejected time and again.

Fighting corruption has been a key slogan of PTI, which has attracted a large number of people across the country, especially youth.

His main rival Nawaz Sharif was sentenced to 10 years in jail in a corruption case earlier this month by an anti-corruption court.

Corruption is Pakistan's one of the biggest issues. And this is because of our relentless struggle that today people are openly speaking against this menace, he opined.

Khan defended the inclusion of so-called electable -- a term to designate politicians who are famous for switching loyalties but win because of their wealth and influence no matter who they are standing for -- in his party, which many see as contrary to his fight against corruption.

They know the art of contesting elections. But they cannot dilute our ideological stance (against corruption), he insisted.

Source: Anadolu Agency

Pakistan’s populist leader ‘sure’ of winning elections

Pakistan needs a strong and credible government in the wake of forthcoming general elections to steer the South Asian nuclear state out of simmering political and economic predicaments, the country's populist leader Imran Khan said.

The status-quo parties have disappointed the nation in last 70 years. They (parties) have enjoyed power several times one after other but they failed to deliver. That's why, the nation is eagerly looking for a new option this time, Khan, a former cricket hero, told Anadolu Agency in an exclusive interview.

He was referring to the two mainstream political parties -- center-left Pakistan People's Party (PPP) of slain prime minister Benazir Bhutto and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) of three times premier Nawaz Sharif -- which have ruled the country four and three times respectively since 1970.

His right-wing Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) scents victory in July 25 elections. The party seems to emerge as the majority group in the northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkha (KP) province, where it ruled from 2013 to 2018.

It, however, appears to be neck-to-neck with PML-N in Punjab, the country's largest province and the political powerbase. Analysts see PTI's emergence as a populist party in Punjab, which has been a stronghold of PML(N).

Only a strong government can pull the country out of simmering problems ranging from economy to foreign policy and from law and order to development, Khan said in response to a question about his course of action in case of a hung parliament on July 25.

I am sure, Insha'Allah (God willing), we will be in a position to form the government single handedly or with the help of a few coalition partners. But let me make it clear, those coalition partners will neither be PML(N) nor PPP, Khan, who had won the only cricket world cup for Pakistan in 1992, maintained.

These two parties have looted the country. Instead of forming the government with their help, I will prefer to sit on opposition benches, he added.

Rejecting concerns raised by several political parties -- including PML-N and PPP -- over fairness of upcoming elections, Khan said the two parties had sensed their defeat. That's why they were trying to create a controversy about fairness as a preemptive step, he added.

Fighting corruption

Khan's opponents accuse the country's powerful army of manipulating and engineering the forthcoming elections to install his government -- a charge PTI has rejected time and again.

Fighting corruption has been a key slogan of PTI, which has attracted a large number of people across the country, especially youth.

His main rival Nawaz Sharif was sentenced to 10 years in jail in a corruption case earlier this month by an anti-corruption court.

Corruption is Pakistan's one of the biggest issues. And this is because of our relentless struggle that today people are openly speaking against this menace, he opined.

Khan defended the inclusion of so-called electable -- a term to designate politicians who are famous for switching loyalties but win because of their wealth and influence no matter who they are standing for -- in his party, which many see as contrary to his fight against corruption.

They know the art of contesting elections. But they cannot dilute our ideological stance (against corruption), he insisted.

Source: Anadolu Agency