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Cricket hero Imran Khan set to be sworn in as Pakistan PM

Published on: 7:47 pm - Saturday | August 18, 2018

currentnews.com.bd

Pakistan’s World Cup cricket hero Imran Khan was set to be sworn in as prime minister of Pakistan Saturday,
after promising a new era of responsibility and prosperity in a fighting
speech in parliament.

Khan won a simple majority from lawmakers in a Friday confidence vote
three weeks after an election tainted by claims of military meddling and
ballot-rigging.

Clad in a waistcoat and traditional white shalwar kameez garments and
smiling broadly, he clutched prayer beads and could be seen wiping tears from his eyes as the count was announced.

His swearing in ceremony — scheduled for Saturday — will mark the end of
decades of rotating leadership between two establishment parties, punctuated
by periods of military rule.

The July 25 election was branded “Pakistan’s dirtiest”, with accusations
throughout the campaign that the military was trying to tilt the playing
field in Khan’s favour.

The army and Khan have denied claims from rival parties of “blatant” vote
rigging.

The former cricketer, who captained Pakistan to World Cup victory in 1992,
fell short of an outright majority, forcing him to partner with smaller
parties and independents in order to form a government.

Khan and his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party campaigned on promises
to end widespread graft while building an “Islamic welfare state”.

“First of all, we will start strict accountability. I promise to my God
that everyone who looted this country will be made accountable,” he said in
his speech Friday.

PTI candidates were also voted speaker and deputy speaker of the National
Assembly this week, putting Khan in a strong position to carry forward his
legislative agenda.

He will face myriad challenges including militant extremism, water
shortages, and a booming population negating growth in the developing
country, among others.

Most pressing is a looming economic crisis, with speculation that Pakistan
will have to seek a bailout from the International Monetary Fund.

Khan will also have to contend with the same issue as many predecessors:
how to maintain a power balance in civil-military relations.

In the West, Khan is often seen as a celebrity whose high-profile romances
were tabloid fodder, but at home he cuts a more conservative persona as a
devout Muslim who believes feminism has degraded motherhood.

Known in Pakistan as “Taliban Khan” for his calls to hold talks with
insurgents, he increasingly catered to religious hardliners during the
campaign, spurring fears his leadership could embolden extremists.

 

(AFP)

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