Pakistan Elections 2018: PTI Triumphs Over Corrupt Dynastic Political Elite

Millions of passionate young men and women enthusiastically voted for Pakistan Tehreek e Insaf led by cricket legend Imran Khan to help PTI win against corrupt dynastic political parties in July 25, 2018 elections. Scores of dynastic politicians lost their legislative seats in this election in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab provinces. This election came to represent a generational shift in many families in which parents reliably voted for the “electables” based on biradries (clans) and feudal affiliations but the children voted for PTI. It is a resounding rejection of old feudal politics in large parts of the country. The only exception to this shift is probably rural Sindh where the dynastic Pakistan Peoples' Party gained seats.

Young Electorate:

Pakistan's 46 million young voters of ages 18-36 years, up from 41 million in 2013, made the biggest impact on the outcome of the elections this year, according to data from the Election Commission of Pakistan.

Pakistan Voter Population by Age Groups. Source: Dawn
The enthusiasm of PTI's young supporters was on full display at many large PTI pre-election rallies addressed by Imran Khan. These rallies set a new standard  with lots of lighting, singing, music and dancing by hundreds of thousands of boys and girls across Pakistan.

Smartphones and Social Media:

Thousands of smartphone wielding young voters were seen following the politicians around while streaming live footage of what a newspaper report described as "something extraordinary: angry voters asking their elected representatives what have they done for them lately".  Here's an excerpt of a report by South China Morning Post (SCMP):

“Where were you during the last five years?” they ask (Sikandar Hayat) Bosan, complaining about the poor state of roads in the area. An aide can be heard pleading that the leader is feeling unwell. To be held accountable in such a public manner is virtually unheard of for most Pakistani politicians, especially in rural areas where many of the videos have been filmed. There feudal landowners, village elders and religious leaders have for decades been elected unopposed. Many are known to use their power over residents to bend them to their will."

"Electables" Swept Away:

PTI's "Naya Pakistan" campaign inspired the voters to sweep away scores of "electables", dynastic feudal politicians who used to easily win elections at all levels in Pakistan. Among the prominent "electables" who lost are former prime ministers Yousaf Raza Gilani and Shahid Khaqan Abbasi.

Voters also rejected several "electables" who joined PTI just before the elections to improve their chances of winning. These include Nazar Gondal, Firdos Ashiq Awan, Raza Hayat Hiraj and Nadeem Afzal Chan.

Many top leaders and former ministers also lost. The list of losers includes:

1.Ch Nisar Ali Khan
2. Shahid Khaqan Abbasi
3. Tariq Fazal Ch
4. Talal Chaudhey
5. Abid Sher Ali
6. Khawaja Saad Rafique
7. Rana Afzal
8. Awais Leghari
9. Qadir Baloch
10. Ameer Muqam
11. Asfandyar Wali
12. Ghulam Bilour
13. Moulana Fazal ur Rehman
14. Akram Durrani
15. Siraj ul Haq
16. Aftab Sherpao
17. Mehmood Achackzai
18. Qamar Zaman Kaira
19. Yousaf Raza Gilani
20. Nazar Gondal
21. Nadeem Afzal Chan
22. Raza Hayat Hiraj
23. Firdaus Ashiq Awan
24. Farooq Sattar
25. Mustafa Kamal
26. Raza Haroon
27. Zulifqar Mirza
28. Naheed Khan
29. Ijaz Ul Haq

Conspiracy Theories:

Media coverage of Pakistan's July 25, 2018 elections has been dominated by conspiracy theories alleging "orchestration" of the election process by Pakistan's "Deep State".

A recent episode of BBC's Hardtalk with Dawn Group's CEO showed that such allegations fail to withstand any serious scrutiny. The "orchestration" conspiracy theory challenges credulity by asking you to believe that everything starting with Panama Papers leak by International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) was managed by Pakistani intelligence agencies to oust Pakistan's ex prime minister Nawaz Sharif. Wide reporting of open criticism of the military and the judiciary by Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui shows that the "worst ever media censorship" charge is not credible.

While it is possible that the Pakistani military "establishment" attempted to influence the outcome of the elections, there is scant evidence of "orchestration" as alleged by Hameed Haroon of Dawn Media Group and others. While the military is a key player and has the ability to tip the scales to some extent, it lacks the capacity to determine the outcome of the elections. In the end, it's the voters who decide the winners and losers.

Summary:

PTI has achieved a historic win because of the millions of young men and women came out to enthusiastically support and vote for Pakistan Tehreek e Insaf candidates on July 25, 2018.  It has swept away many of the corrupt and dynastic "electables" and brought to the fore a new crop of leaders in Pakistan.  There is new hope in Pakistan but these new leaders face many challenges starting with the economy being hurt by a serious balance of payments crisis. PTI will need to move quickly to address these and other challenges to begin to meet the huge expectations of their passionate but impatient supporters of "Naya Pakistan".

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Comments

Riaz Haq said…
Islamic Development Bank offers $4.5 billion 3-year credit facility for #Pakistan’s #oil imports. #SaudiArabia #Jeddah https://tribune.com.pk/story/1768572/2-idb-activates-4-5b-credit-facility-pakistans-oil-imports/

Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Pakistan met with PTI Chairman Imran Khan at the latter’s residence on Friday. China, which had also refused to bail out the PML-N government, has now agreed to give $2 billion in financial assistance. Of this, over $1 billion has been disbursed this week.
Riaz Haq said…
#China-#Pakistan ties, #CPEC #economic corridor will endure - Global Times http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1112721.shtml#.W16QV0jn6Hk.twitter


The Election Commission of Pakistan announced Friday that the Movement for Justice Party, led by former cricket hero Imran Khan, has won most seats in the election. Pakistan is about to face its second power transfer between civilian governments in its 71-year history. As an emerging power and third political force outside of Pakistan People's Party and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, the Movement for Justice Party will hold power for the first time.

Given that power transfer in other countries has sometimes led to a temporary change of attitude toward Chinese investment, some Western media have been hyping the topic of whether a similar change would take place in Pakistan. Some have made wild guesses over whether Khan would adjust Pakistan's China policy.

All Chinese scholars interviewed by the Global Times expressed firm confidence in China-Pakistan ties. They believe China and Pakistan's all-weather strategic partnership of cooperation has lived up to its name, and the conditions that help foster this special relationship have not changed with the rise of Khan and his party. Supporting China-Pakistan relations remains a key pillar of Pakistan's diplomacy.

Movement for Justice Party's victory is a major political event in Pakistan. There had been other political oscillations in the country, but Beijing never interfered in Islamabad's domestic politics. China-Pakistan relations always transcend political changes within Pakistan.

As for China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), there have never been any political trials against it in Pakistan. A consensus has been formed that the corridor is a mega project that benefits both countries. Discussions about the project are technical and never meant to pose strategic obstacles.

Khan reportedly said he appreciated the CPEC and that his nation can learn from China's crackdown on corruption and poverty alleviation efforts.

The CPEC has a strategic significance for both countries and will bring strong impetus to Pakistan's economic development. Western speculation about Pakistan's "debt issue" is not a technical analysis but political hype, a move to drive a wedge between Beijing and Islamabad.

China and Pakistan are carefully assessing relevant debt issues related to bilateral cooperation so that the debts will be kept within a controllable range. The two countries enjoy a high level of mutual trust and their coordination has been active and close. These factors fundamentally assure smooth bilateral cooperation.

Analysts believe Khan's challenges come mainly from domestic sectors. The most urgent issues include domestic extremism, economic development, a population boom and a water crisis. Economic development is obviously the key to solving other problems. China is Pakistan's most reliable friend in its initiative to strive for stability and prosperity. China's overall support to Pakistan is irreplaceable.

Few Western media are friendly and fair toward Pakistan. Smearing Pakistan's reputation and China-Pakistan relations is all too natural for them. They barely said anything positive about the CPEC and this attitude will hardly change in the future.

The economic corridor will not be built in one day. China and Pakistan should ignore those comments and there is no need to get upset. We should continue carrying out our work, implement the plan in accordance with reality, make sure our work fits both countries' interest and plays a constructive role in regional prosperity.

Pakistan's development was often disturbed by turmoil but its destiny will not always be sluggish. Development will once again become the main theme of the country which needs support from infrastructure. With the recession of extremism in South Asia, the future of CPEC is bright and it will be the new bond between Beijing and Islamabad.
Riaz Haq said…
Amid allegations of blatant rigging in Pakistan elections, member of international observers group and former Chief Election Commissioner of India SY Quraishi told NDTV that they found the system to be transparent, free and fair. Mr Quraishi said that some glitches did show up due to either inexperience or poor training particularly towards the end of the day.


https://youtu.be/a-PzUlq6wHM
Riaz Haq said…
34-year-old Wazir Zada of #PTI will be the first member of the #Kalash community to become a lawmaker. July 25 was a big night for #minorities in #Pakistan. 3 Hindu candidates of the #PPPP were elected from the #Sindh province. #PakistanElection2018 https://www.geo.tv/latest/205962-pakistan-gets-its-first-kalashi-lawmaker

More women than ever were on the ballot nationwide. Several transgender persons contested on general parliamentary seats. July 25 was also a big night for minorities in Pakistan. Three Hindu candidates of the Pakistan Peoples Party Parliamentarians (PPPP) were elected from the Sindh province. While over in three small villages – Bamboreet, Bareer and Ramboor - nestled in the Hindu Kush mountains in northern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, celebrations have been ongoing for many days now. Men and women dance to loud music in their colourful attires. And why shouldn’t there be revelries. One of their own, a young man named Wazir Zada has made history.

The 34-year-old will be the first member of the Kalash community to become a lawmaker.

Before Pakistan went to vote, Zada’s name was proposed for the minority seat in the provincial assembly by Imran Khan’s Tehreek-e-Insaf. His name is second on the list of priority in an assembly where the PTI has secured a big win, picking up 66 general seats from the province, out of 99.

The Kalash community practises an ancient polytheistic religion and speaks Dardic. They are considered one of the oldest and smallest indigenous communities in the country.

Last year, the government-run National Commission on Human Rights (NCHR) warned in a report that the Kalash population has dwindled over the years and now hovers around 4,000 due to forced conversions and other threats.

Zada was born to a working-class family in Kalash. He completed his matriculation and college from Chitral, before joining the University of Peshawar for a masters in political science. After his education, he began working as a social worker and activist in his area.

He first joined Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf, a relatively lesser-known party then, in 2008. Once an MPA, Zada says he hopes to bring more “development and prosperity to the people of Kalash.” While the majority of the population in the three villages is that of Muslims, he plans to promote and highlight his tribe’s culture and history.

“I am thankful to Imran Khan, who gave me this opportunity,” he told Geo.tv. “Before this the people of Kalash only voted in the elections, but they were never heard from after. Now, our voice will reach every home.”
Riaz Haq said…
How a phone app and a database served up #ImranKhan's #Pakistan poll win. A phone #app and #database of more than 50 million voters were key weapons in the successful campaign of cricket legend Imran Khan in last month’s #pakistangeneralelections #PTI https://reut.rs/2Kp3gjK

How Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) party used the database and the associated app represents a sea change in the antiquated way in which Pakistan’s biggest parties conduct elections, from pre-poll targeting of voters to on-the-day mobilization of supporters.

PTI was secretive about the technology plan ahead of the July 25 poll, fearing rivals could copy it, but several party workers showed Reuters how the app transformed their campaign and gave them an edge.

The phone app proved especially useful in getting supporters to the polls when the government’s own telephone information service giving out polling place locations suffered major problems on election day, leaving other parties scrambling.

It partly explains why Khan’s party managed to win tight-margin races in the nuclear-armed nation of 208 million people, though Khan’s rivals allege he also benefited from the powerful military’s support - an allegation he staunchly denies.

“It’s had a great impact,” said Amir Mughal, tasked with using the app and database, known as the Constituency Management System (CMS), to elect Asad Umar, a lawmaker who won his seat in Islamabad and will be Khan’s new finance minister.

The small CMS unit led by Mughal, Umar’s personal secretary, was typical of how Khan’s party set up teams in constituencies across Pakistan to mine the database, identifying voters by household, zeroing-in on “confirmed” PTI voters, tagging them on the app, and ensuring they turned out on election day.

“Work that would take days of weeks is being completed in one to two hours,” Mughal told Reuters in Umar’s office minutes after the polls shut.

Khan’s PTI surpassed expectations to scoop about 115 seats out of 272 elected members of parliament, while the party of ousted and jailed premier Nawaz Sharif trailed in second with 64 seats.

Developed by a small tech team, the CMS was a key response to Khan’s bitter complaints after the 2013 poll loss that his party failed to translate mass popularity into votes because it did not know the “art of winning elections”.

Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) ran a more erratic campaign, hurt by divisions within the party and the loss of key leaders who were either disqualified or in case of Sharif and his daughter, jailed.

Weeks before the elections, Khan sent out a video via WhatsApp urging PTI candidates to embrace CMS.

“I have seen and experienced how it works and I’m using it in all five constituencies I am contesting,” Khan said in the video message, seen by Reuters. “The faster you apply this system, the easier your life will become,” Khan added.
Riaz Haq said…
#India's Imran challenge. #India no longer has a choice of ‘dialogue-or-no-dialogue’ with #Pakistan. #ImranKhan offered an olive branch in his victory speech. #Modi has a wonderful opportunity to respond by supporting/attending #SAARC Summit in #Islamabad https://www.theweek.in/columns/mk-bhadrakumar/2018/08/04/indias-imran-challenge.html

By M.K. Bhadrakumar August 12, 2018

The astonishing part is that the Indian narrative is blithely unaware that Imran is a product of our turbulent times. The Pakistani election results have completely overshadowed an event of momentous significance to that country—direct talks between the United States and the Taliban (without the participation of Afghan government), which took place in Qatar. The timing—just two days before the Pakistani elections—was exquisite. And, the Pakistani military leadership made it possible. The Taliban since expressed satisfaction that the meeting ended with “very positive signals” with an agreement to meet again “soon” and that the two sides discussed Taliban’s participation in the Afghan government.

A recurring fallacy of Indian foreign policy discourse is its tunnel vision—the singular failure to correlate diplomacy with the wider geopolitical templates and regional and global alignments. We must understand that Pakistan is preparing for the formidable challenge posed by the imminent outbreak of peace in Afghanistan. The tumultuous history of Pashtun irredentist claims underscores that had there been no Imran, Pakistan would have had to invent one.

This has sub-plots and a few of them have direct bearing on India’s vital interests, too. First, peace in Afghanistan eases pressure on Pakistan’s internal security and allows it to concentrate its forces more on its eastern border with India (which brings us to the Kashmir issue.) Second, Pakistan expects quid pro quo from the US for bailing it out of a humiliating defeat and ignominious retreat from Afghanistan. Pakistan seeks strategic balance in South Asia, which requires course correction in US regional policies. Third, Pakistan’s close cooperation with the US helps it to breathe new life into its relations with the west, while its Eurasian integration processes also continue apiece. (No doubt, Imran makes a brilliant global salesman for his country.) Fourth, in a stable regional environment, Pakistan hopes to garner the benefits of China’s Belt and Road Initiative as well as attract western investment. Geo-economics gains primacy. Indeed, history has not ended in our region.
Riaz Haq said…
BBC News - #Pakistan's first lawmaker of #African descent raises hopes for #Sidi community. Sidis descended from #slaves brought to #India from East #Africa by #Portuguese. Their ancestors were also soldiers, traders, pearl divers, #Muslim pilgrims. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-45099970

Pakistan is set to have its first ever lawmaker of African descent, raising the profile of a small and mostly poor community that has been in the region for centuries.

Tanzeela Qambrani, 39, was nominated by the Pakistan People's Party (PPP), of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, to a women's reserved seat in the regional parliament of southern Sindh province.

She hopes her nomination after last month's election will help wash away the stigma attached to the Sidi community, the local name for the ethnic African population concentrated in the coastal regions of Makran and Sindh.

"As a tiny minority lost in the midst of local populations, we have struggled to preserve our African roots and cultural expression, but I look forward to the day when the name Sidi will evoke respect, not contempt," Ms Qambrani, whose ancestors came from Tanzania, told the BBC.

Many Sidis are believed to be descended from slaves brought to India from East Africa by the Portuguese. Historians say their ancestors were also soldiers, traders, pearl divers and Muslim pilgrims.

They enjoyed senior positions during the Mughal empire but faced discrimination under British colonial rule.

Estimates put their population in Pakistan in the tens of thousands. They are well-integrated but keep alive some traditions, including an annual festival that blends Islamic mysticism, crocodiles and singing in a blend of Swahili and a local language called Baluchi.

Sidi communities also live in the Indian states of Karnataka, Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh.

The Sidis dominate the Lyari district of Karachi and have been staunch supporters of the PPP, now chaired by Benazir Bhutto's son, Bilawal Zardari Bhutto.

However, no Sidi had ever made it to parliament until Mr Bhutto Zardari nominated Ms Qambrani for the reserved seat.

"Just as Columbus discovered America, Bilawal has discovered Sidis," said Ms Qambrani, whose great-grandparents came to Sindh from Tanzania.

The PPP came third in the recent general election, which was won by former cricketer Imran Khan's PTI party. However the PPP again won the most seats in the Sindh provincial assembly.

Can Imran Khan change Pakistan?
Ms Qambrani, a computer science postgraduate with three children, hails from the coastal area of Badin. Her father, Abdul Bari, was a lawyer while her mother is a retired school teacher.

Her family has kept its African connections alive; one of her sisters was married in Tanzania, while another has a husband from Ghana.

"When my sister married a Ghanaian husband, local youths and guests from Ghana put on such a show in our neighbourhood," she said.

"They danced those typical Sidi steps to the Mogo drumbeat which they say comes from Ghana but which we've traditionally played in our homes. You couldn't tell a Sidi dancer apart from an African."
Riaz Haq said…
Dr. Ata ur Rahman: #Pakistan: a new beginning. After a decade of loot and plunder by successive democratic governments, there is finally hope that Pakistan will embark on the road to progress. #PTI #ImranKhan #NayaPakistan https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/352100-pakistan-a-new-beginning

The massive loans taken by the last two governments have placed Pakistan in a dire financial situation. Our current account deficit is $18 billion. The value of the rupee declined from Rs60 per dollar to Rs123, whereas the magnitude of foreign loans increased from $37 billion, accumulated over 60 years, to $95 billion – an additional debt of $58 billion in just 10 years. The outstanding rupee debt is Rs4 trillion, which the new government will need to rollover during the coming months. Around 190 Public Sector Enterprises have lost a huge sum of Rs1.1 trillion, and we have lost some Rs3.7 trillion over the last three years.

The former finance minister has escaped the clutches of the law and taken refuge in the UK. He needs to be brought back through Interpol and given exemplary punishment, if found guilty of looting public funds. The former prime minister languishes in jail for massive corruption and misuse of public funds. Imran Khan has emerged as a knight in shining armour after relentlessly struggling against corrupt rulers for 22 years. His speech was full of wisdom and humility – it came straight from the heart and proved that Pakistan finally has a leader who is a visionary, and is honest and committed.

The vast amounts of looted public funds have been accumulated abroad, while thousands of Pakistanis are committing suicide due to abject poverty. The answer lies in implementing a punishment system such as that of China, Thailand, Morocco, Philippines, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq and Vietnam. Such trials should be carried out by military courts, as the normal justice system cannot work against such a powerful mafia. The murder of late Justice Nizam Ahmed is a reminder of what can happen to judges. Plea bargaining should not be allowed, except for commuting a death sentence to life imprisonment, with Class C jail facilities, only if all looted funds are brought back.

One of the most important tasks that lie ahead for the new government is revamping the judicial system. Some out-of-the-box thinking may have to be done to make this possible. The system can be improved by hiring several thousand new judges on contractual basis from a lot of qualified lawyers. They should be given the mandate to decide all new cases within three months. Those who fail this test should be fired. The backlog of cases must be cleared within 24 months. This can be done; all it requires is will. It will also be an appropriate justification to the name of the party in power -- Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf.

Pakistan’s wealth lies in its 100 million people below the age of 20. So our action plan must primarily focus on unleashing their potential, so that Pakistan can transition into a knowledge-based economy. Achieving this will require funds. The fastest way to generate funding is by introducing projects in the agriculture sector. Providing access to water through building dams and lining canals, reducing water wastage and using biotechnology to improve crop yield and disease-resistance should be given the highest priority.

The mushrooming of substandard universities has promoted mediocrity and contributed to the joblessness of poorly prepared ‘qualified’ graduates. This must stop. Our focus should be on sending our brightest students to top universities abroad. They must then be attracted back through research grants, jobs on arrival, and their salaries must be tripled as per the tenure track system. This system, introduced in 2005, must be made mandatory for all new faculty inductions so that there exists a mechanism for weeding out non-productive faculty through international evaluation.
Riaz Haq said…
Dr. Ata ur Rahman: #Pakistan: a new beginning. After a decade of loot and plunder by successive democratic governments, there is finally hope that Pakistan will embark on the road to progress. #PTI #ImranKhan #NayaPakistan https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/352100-pakistan-a-new-beginning

There is a huge scope in several sectors of our economy. These include information technology, mineral processing, electronics, engineering goods, value-added agriculture etc. The projects to be undertaken in each sector have already been shortlisted in a 320-page document prepared as a result of intense consultations with thousands of stakeholders through a ‘foresight’ exercise carried out under my supervision during 2004-2006, and approved by the cabinet in 2007. These now need to be picked up and implemented upon.

To make rapid progress, Pakistan needs to focus on projects which can create jobs and thereby alleviate poverty. The motto of the new government must be ‘Jobs, Jobs and Jobs’. To make this happen, agricultural development and industrialisation has to be our focus. To promote manufacturing in high value-added fields, technical training, education, science, technology and innovation (TESTI) should be a priority. The autonomy of the federal HEC must be restored, and the body must be fully supported to discharge its function independently of the Ministry of Education. Some of our best universities should be transformed into ‘research universities’ and some of our best research institutes developed into centres of excellence. To promote innovation and entrepreneurship, every university should establish a Science Park for the incubation of new companies. The vice chancellors of all universities should be screened and those who appear to be academically and administratively weak should be removed, with a better person being appointed in their place.

School and college education needs to be completely revamped. A Lower Education Commission could be formed that is independent of ministries and reports directly to the PM on the same lines as the HEC, so that a coordinated nationwide strategy for improving school-level education can be developed. Similarly, the provincial HECs need to be disbanded as they are duplicating the functions of the federal HEC, and the higher education departments in each province should be given the task of uplifting colleges.

The new cabinet must not contain any politicians. It should be composed of respected technocrats, each a specialist in their relevant discipline. All federal secretaries should be replaced by top experts, and each ministry should have think tanks which comprise experts from within Pakistan and abroad. These should then advise the federal ministries. The same should be done at the provincial level.

The clock is ticking. Secretaries should be required to be in office at 8am sharp and the ministries should function till 5pm each day, including on Saturdays. National holidays should be cancelled except for one day each for Eid and Muharram. If people want to celebrate Kashmir or Iqbal days, then that week’s Sunday should be declared a working day and the salary for that day should be donated to the relevant cause. Destiny has provided a wonderful opportunity to Pakistan through a dynamic, honest and sincere leader in the form of Imran Khan. We should all gather round to support him.

The writer is the former chairman of the HEC, and president of the Network of Academies of Science of OIC

Countries (NASIC).
Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistan political dynasties unite against triumphant #ImranKhan's #PTI. An unexpected bond between #PPP and #PMLN whose ruling families have been in charge of Pakistan for about half of the past 50 years.
https://www.ft.com/content/b3b159fa-9c92-11e8-9702-5946bae86e6d


The two dynasties that have battled for control of Pakistan for generations will join forces on Monday, promising to stage “noisy protests” inside parliament against the results of last month’s elections as new members take their oaths.

The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, which is controlled by the Sharif family, and the Pakistan Peoples party, run by the Bhuttos, have formed an unlikely alliance against Imran Khan, the former cricketer whose party won most seats last month.

Analysts say that if the two parties manage to maintain their unity, they could present a significant obstacle for Mr Khan, who is due to take his oath as prime minister in the coming days.

One senior PML-N politician said: “Inside the house we are going to keep up the clamour that the elections were clearly rigged.” A leader of the PPP added that the two parties would combine forces inside parliament over the next few years “on important political and legislative issues”.

Mr Khan has spent the past few weeks composing a governing coalition, after his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party won 116 of the 272 contested parliamentary seats.

His negotiations have taken place, however, against a backdrop of protests by the opposition parties, which claim the PTI was helped by interference from the country’s powerful security services — something denied by both the PTI and the army.

---------------


Analysts say they do not expect the opposition parties to be able to form a government, not least because they fear a backlash from voters, among whom Mr Khan remains popular.

Ali Sarwar Naqvi, a political commentator, said: “Ever since the elections, opposition parties have been unable to show strength on the streets. Imran Khan is new and untested and therefore there is a lot of enthusiasm over his arrival.”

But many believe the alliance could make its presence felt in parliament over the next few years, especially as Mr Khan’s first job will be to repair the country’s balance sheet, possibly by enacting unpopular spending cuts or tax rises.

Asad Umar, Mr Khan’s proposed finance minister, has said the country has just weeks to secure extra financing to meet its external debt requirements.

Ghazi Salahuddin, a political commentator for The News newspaper, said: “As time goes by and the new government faces difficult choices, the opposition will gain strength — especially if Imran Khan himself becomes unpopular.”

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