In Pakistan, the revenge of cricket “Imran Khan”
The ex-star of cricket, a blood with the temperament of rock star, proclaimed his victory in the general elections. His opponents denounce fraud.
Now he’s putting on his statesman costume. In proclaiming his victory in the Pakistani general elections on Thursday July 26, before the official results were even announced, Imran Khan made a calm, accommodating speech.
The country’s liberals, still in shock, appreciated. Mr. Khan, the bloodthirsty rock star, did not protrude against the “mafias” of his opponents, those who coldly despised him for twenty years. The Sharif, the Bhutto, those “corrupt” political families whom the ex-cricket star deems responsible for all the evils of Pakistan. He put them in the polls the day before. He will try to have them sued, that’s understood. But he promises to make room for their grievances.
These grievances are serious. His opponents denounced systematic manipulations against them, on the part of the army, during the campaign and then on the night of the counting of the votes. They bluntly accuse the latter of plunging the country back into authoritarianism, by sheltering behind Mr. Khan, and taking advantage of the disgust of the urban middle classes for their established political class. The army denounced a “malicious propaganda” operation .
The Pakistan-Nawaz Muslim League (PML-N) of ex-Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, imprisoned in July in a corruption case, refused before dawn Thursday, the result of the polls. But what can she hope for? The League is a party of prominent opportunists, not street activists. His warnings sound hollow, for the time being. As for Mr. Khan, he has long denied that he is the favorite of the military. And if he has been able to shake PML-N for months, he owes it first to his own metamorphosis.