Can Imran Khan Transform Pakistan?
Cricket great Imran Khan, whose Tehreek-e-Insaf emerged the single-largest party in Pakistan’s national election, promised to work for everything from reducing poverty to improving ties with India. Can he bring the change he promised?
The people of Pakistan are likely to have more of the same, Sharat Sabharwal, India’s former high commissioner to Pakistan, told BloombergQuint in an interview. “Unfortunately, I didn’t hear anything new in what he said.”
Khan’s silence on terrorism didn’t leave a positive impression, he said. The cricketer-turned-politician’s weakness is that he’s not too watchful of the army, Sabharwal said. Everything he says will be in close “coordination with the army”.
Michael Kugelman, deputy director of The Asia Program and senior associate for South Asia at the Woodrow Wilson Center, said it was rather wise of Khan not to touch upon the issue of military in his speech, given that his party does not share amicable ties with the key political power broker in the nation.
Khan’s victory speed came among claims of widespread rigging and threats from rival Shahbaz Sharif, brother of jailed former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, that the results were unacceptable.
Lahore-based writer and journalist Ammara Ahmad said the fact that Imran Khan doesn’t come from a political family and doesn’t have children to pass on the baton counts for the people of Pakistan. “But there is no proof of Khan’s understanding of the sheer complexities of running a government, and particularly a government in Pakistan.”
Watch the full debate here: