Imran’s high-stakes election gamble

Imran’s high-stakes election gamble

Pakistan’s former prime minister, Imran Khan, is threatening to dissolve two provincial assemblies in a high-stakes

attempt to force the federal government to hold early elections.

The dissolution of legislatures controlled by his party in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is set for 23 December,

a fellow with the Washington-based Brookings Institute think tank and the author of Pakistan

“For all the intense politicking and instability in Pakistan’s politics over the year

Under Siege: Extremism, Society and the State.

Mr. Khan‘s move threatens to plunge Pakistan, already

struggling with the financial crisis, even deeper into political turmoil

It comes at the end of a tumultuous year for the cricket hero-turned

-politician, who was ousted as prime minister in April and injured in a shooting in November.

Media caption,
Imran Khan is carried into a car after being shot at a protest march

Mr. Khan

has demanded the electorate have their say.

He has held a series of high-profile rallies in an attempt to force the coalition government

that replaced him to call early elections – a demand it has repeatedly said it would not heed.

Pakistan’s constitution says a vote must be held 90 days after dissolution. What will actually happen is unclear.

t they will hold provincial assembly elections and not general elections.

en if successful, is not likely to force early general elections, his goal.”

Akbar S Babar, a founding member of Mr. Khan’s PTI party who has now fallen out with him,

is critical of his repeated calls for an early election, saying he is simply power

“He’s really created a situation in Pakistan that can go in any direction. He is forcing strife on society. This is not the role of a politician. This is not the role of a nation-builder.”

Imran Khan disagree He told the BBC he is a democrat – and “democrats always go to the people”.

“I’ve been in politics for 26 years

It’s true – Mr. Khan, who is 70, remains popular. In recent by-elections, his party won six of the eight seats up for grabs.

The most recent rallies by Mr. Khan and his PTI,

which they have billed as “the long march”,

Beginning in Lahore, a caravan of protesters was making their way to the capital

, Islamabad, to stage a sit-in to put pressure on the government.

two days after the BBC interview

– that a gunman opened fire on his convoy, hitting him in the leg.

The former PM has accused members of the current government of plotting the attack.

Authorities have rejected the accusation and released a video purporting to show a confession from

a man they describe as the only suspect in the shooting.

What led to Pakistan PM Imran Khan’s downfall
The cricket hero bowled out as Pakistan’s

He managed to get more citizens to pay income taxes

“His governance was not very good, his governance was not exemplary,

” says Sohail Warraich, editor of the Urdu-language newspaper The Daily Jang.

He al

In October

the election commission barred him from standing for political office for five

years for incorrectly declaring details of presents from foreign dignitaries and proceeds from their alleged sale. Mr. Khan described the case as politically motivated.

, has been friends with Mr. Khan for 50 years and remains an ardent supporter.

He believes fresh elections are imminent – and he says Mr. Khan will win.

“We have a very, very corrupt system. And Imran is standing alone against that system,” he told the BBC.

“They want him down. They tried assassination on him.

. And if he has this hostility and it continues, I don’t think there will be an easy way to power.”

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