The former cricket star and now the prime minister-in-waiting Imran Khan has vowed to create a ‘New Pakistan’ eradicating poverty, corruption and violence and promoting education, social welfare and rule of law aiming to create a modern Islamic welfare state.
Running on a populist, anticorruption platform, Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (Pakistan Movement for Justice) PTI party led by Imran won the general elections for the 15th National Assembly held on Wednesday 25 July 2018.
Imran Ahmad Khan Niazi, 66 is the Chairman of PTI having founded the political party in 1996 after his retirement from cricket. He was the member of National Assembly of Pakistan from 2002 to 2007 and again 2013-2018.
Born in a Pashtun family in Lahore, Imran started playing cricket at the age of 13. He was educated at Keble College, Oxford, UK where he played county cricket and joined the Pakistan national cricket team at the age of 18. He led Pakistan to victory at the 1992 Cricket World Cup in Australia.
After his retirement from cricket in 1992 as one of Pakistan’s most successful players, Imran became a philanthropist, concentrating on education and health, raising tens of millions of dollars to establish cancer research centres and hospitals and educational institutions in Pakistan.
He served as the chancellor of Bradford University between 2005 and 2014 and was the recipient of an honorary fellowship by the Royal College of Physicians in 2012.
During the elections held on Wednesday 25 July 2018, PTI has won 115 seats, 22 short of an absolute majority and is in negotiation with smaller parties and independents to form the government.
The ruling party, the PML (N) won a total of 64 seats, while the PPP won 43 seats, with 34 seats being won by smaller parties and 13 by Independents.
The National Assembly consists of 342 members, of which 272 are directly elected while 70 seats are reserved for women and minorities which will be allocated proportionally.
The PTI has not only won the national elections but will also be able to form government in two provinces namely Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab while Sindh will be ruled by Pakistan People’s Party PPP and Balochistan Awami Party will form a coalition government in Balochistan.
PTI ruled the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in coalition with other parties since the last elections in 2013 and established a relatively sound track record in good governance.
The government was credited with improving law and order, health and education over the past five years and hence has won comprehensively in the 25 July elections to form the provincial government in its own right.
Imran Khan has strong views in pursuing an independent foreign policy.
Although an admirer of China as a success story, he has voiced opposition to China’s huge investment in Pakistan, which has racked up billions of dollars in debt to China.
Imran has offered an olive branch to neighbouring India, saying that both neighbours should move towards conflict resolution through dialogue.
“Wars can breed tragedies instead of facilitating resolution of conflicts” and “both countries should invest in poverty reduction, pulling millions out of the poverty trap,” Imran was quoted while in conversation with Indian Prime Minister Modi who called him soon after the elections to offer congratulations.
Imran has also been an outspoken critic of the US-led war in neighbouring Afghanistan and of drone strikes against militants in Pakistan.
Ideologically, Imran Khan is highly inspired by poet-philosopher Allamah Muhammad Iqbal and the Iranian sociologist Ali Shariati. He is considered to be a nationalist and a populist and highly popular amongst his countrymen of all ages and persuasions.
Imran Khan’s political views include Islamic values, to which he rededicated himself almost like a born-again Muslim, liberal economics in creating a welfare state, decreased bureaucracy and the implementation of anti-corruption laws in order to create and ensure a clean government.
He wants to establish an independent judiciary and overhaul the country’s police system with an anti-militant vision for a democratic Pakistan to live in peace with the international community.