Pakistan General Election 2018: Imran Khan looks set for new innings as newspapers glorify former all-rounder as prospective PM

28 June 1992. Just another day on the calendar but not for Imran Khan who's now well on the way to take charge as the prime minister of Pakistan if the initial trends in the ongoing counting of votes in the Pakistan General Election are to be believed. On that day in 1992, Pakistan lifted the first ever Cricket World Cup trophy beating England by 22 runs at the Melbourne Cricket Ground under Khan's captainship. His achievement on the field made him a darling of the headlines the next day and today, when he is on the verge of becoming the prime minister, Pakistani newspapers have again sung hosanna for the cricketer-turned-politician.

Pakistani newspapers took the opportunity to present Khan as an impactful personality, as the potential beacon of hope for the country with a checkered political history. In Pakistan, this election is only the second time that power has been transferred from one government to the other peacefully, in its 70-year-old history. The results are yet to be out officially but Khan's supporters are already in a celebratory mood.

The unofficial results of the Pakistan general election held on Wednesday are coming in tidbits amid shock, protests, and disbelieving hope but Pakistani citizens came out to vote in good numbers to have their say in the shaping of their future – despite serious security threats and allegations of large-scale rigging.

Imran Khan's party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) is doing well across the country as per initial trends, showing signs that it could be in power from Chitral to Sadiqabad. If the course of results remains the same till the end of counting of the last vote, the former cricketer-turned-politician's wish of forming a government without alliances may become true.

 Pakistan General Election 2018: Imran Khan looks set for new innings as newspapers glorify former all-rounder as prospective PM

File photo of PTI chief Imran Khan. Reuters
REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha

Although the reports have been sketchy, the PTI is likely to do well in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Dawn reported that Khan must start with a self-assurance that those who are disputing the results now do not have the stamina or the critical backing that had enabled him to sustain a protest campaign — which had its origins in PTI’s grievances against poll rigging — for five long years.

But as the chief executive of the country, he will have to do better than blaming it all on an international conspiracy. He will have to be mindful of the international interest in Pakistan.

Some estimates say that Khan will win more than 100 national seats. PTI had secured at least 114 seats on Thursday morning as this copy was being edited, ensuring that if he is on the way to form the government he won't have to look for allies to form a government.

He can well do with the support of the ‘azad’ MNAs even though for longevity’s sake he may be advised to cultivate good relations with smaller groups among the nationalists and Islamists that may yet sneak into the parliament.

PTI's success would mark a new era. Imran’s struggle was avowed to end the domination of not just one party but he sought to correct a whole system that had been exploited.

The main culprits in his book were the Pakistan Peoples Party and the PML-N.

In some of his recent remarks, he made it quite clear that he was allergic to the idea of having to enter into an alliance with the PPP of Asif Zardari, who to the PTI cadres is the epitome of all that is bad in the country.

The Nation reported that, as per the partial results, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf was convincingly leading at 111 constituencies of the National Assembly (NA) and sweeping provincial seats of the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

In the race for the Punjab Assembly, the party was neck and neck with the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz. PTI had secured 123 provincial seats against 132 of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz – which ruled the province unchallenged for years and years.

However, as PTI supporters across the country started early celebrations in anticipation of their victory, PML-N president Shahbaz Sharif announced their rejection of the election results – expressing strong apprehensions on the polling process.

PPP, MQM, ANP, MMA and TLP followed the suit with raising questions on the fairness of the elections.

The celebrations for Imran Khan could be spoiled by a summon by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) due to violating its Code of Conduct, reported The Pakistan Observer.

The ECP summoned a reply from Khan for violating “secrecy of ballot” code. The commission also expressed concern over Khan’s media talk despite the ban.

The ECP’s action came after Imran Khan’s media talk and voting exercise that was captured on video. The notice has been taken against PML-N president Shehbaz Sharif, PML-N leader Khawaja Asif and PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari.

Updated Date: Jul 26, 2018 10:26:38 IST