Former Cricket Star Wins Pakistan Election Amid Allegations of Vote Rigging
Pakistani cricket hero Imran Khan will become Pakistan's new Prime Minister after defeating Shahbaz Sharif, the younger brother of ousted Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, and Bilawal Bhutto, son of assassinated two-time prime minister Benazir Bhutto. However, Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz party along with several smaller parties have rejected the results and alleged major voting irregularities.
The News Pakistan: "Khan’s camp was increasingly confident of winning the election, although it still appeared likely to fall short of the 137 seats needed for a majority in the National Assembly, raising the prospect it would need to find coalition partners among smaller parties and independents."
"Thursday’s election results will mark only the second civilian transfer of power in Pakistan’s 71-year history."
"Pakistan’s new government will face a mounting and urgent in-tray, from a brewing economic crisis to worsening relations with on-off ally the United States to deepening cross-country water shortages."
"An anti-corruption crusader, Khan has promised an “Islamic welfare state” and cast his populist campaign as a battle to topple a predatory political elite hindering development in the impoverished mostly-Muslim nation of 208 million people, where the illiteracy rate hovers above 40 percent."
Radio Free Europe: "Khan has been an outspoken critic of the U.S.-led war in neighboring Afghanistan and of U.S. drone strikes against militants in Pakistan."
"Khan has also criticized Pakistani liberals and embraced conservative Islam as a politician, promising a Taliban-style justice system. He has allied himself with extremist religious groups with ties to militancy."
"He is also widely believed to be backed by the army, which fell out with Nawaz Sharif, who looked to curb the military’s traditional dominance in politics."
Photo Credit: Jawad Zakariya