Pakistan polls: Candidates backed by Imran’s party make gains - The Tribune India

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Pakistan polls

Candidates backed by Imran’s party make gains

Pakistan polls

Photo for representational purpose only. iStock file photo



INDEPENDENT candidates backed by jailed former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) sprung a surprise in the general election, upstaging three-time premier Nawaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N). Even as the counting of votes and declaration of winners were marked by chaos and delays, Nawaz suffered a shock defeat to PTI-supported Shahzada Khan from the Mansehra seat. He, however, defeated another independent candidate, Yasmin Rashid, to clinch the Lahore seat.

Members of the PTI contested as independents after they were not allowed to use the party symbol (cricket bat) in the February 8 polls, which were held amid a controversial countrywide mobile phone shutdown. The provisional results show that cricketer-turned-politician Imran, the founding chairman of the PTI, has made his presence felt despite being barred from contesting the elections due to his conviction and sentencing in multiple cases. Imran, who was ousted as PM in 2022, continues to be a popular leader. His arrest in May last year had sparked violence in many parts of the country; protesters had even targeted military installations, including the army headquarters in Rawalpindi.

The PTI’s success is a setback to the Pakistani military, which had thrown its weight behind the Sharifs and gone all out to keep Imran out of the electoral contest. Confident of forming the government at the Centre, Imran’s party has ruled out forging an alliance with its main rivals — the PML-N and Bilawal Bhutto Zardari’s Pakistan People’s Party. Meanwhile, PML-N leader Ishaq Dar has claimed that some victorious independent candidates have contacted his party. An intriguing power tussle has begun in the beleaguered country, which is hoping for a stable and strong government that would pull it out of a prolonged economic crisis.

#Imran Khan #Nawaz Sharif #Pakistan


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