Pakistan delivers ‘Establishment Out’ verdict; Imran Khan fights back military with ballots

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The trends at the end of the counting of votes showed the PTI-supported Independents winning the national elections in Pakistan.

Imran Khan at the time of his arrest

Photo credit Twitter @HamzaAzhrSalam

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By Manish Anand

New Delhi, February 9: Until the votes began being counted, the consensus opinion among political commentators in Pakistan opined that the military establishment will once more “select” former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his party, the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz), to form the government in Pakistan. But the popular vote, as per trends, brought a stunning contrarian script written by the people.

The Election Commission of Pakistan after facing flaks for delaying the announcement of the results began declaring the independent candidates as winners. The independent candidates are supported by former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). They are winning as many as 154 seats in Pakistan’s National Assembly with Sharif’s PMLN at a distant second slot with just 47 seats.

The trends at the end of the counting of votes showed the PTI-supported Independents winning the national elections in Pakistan. Khan’s supporters are also poised to win Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Khan’s supporters swept through Punjab in the elections to give a stunning blow to the family hold of Sharif in the politics of the province.

Leading Pakistani journalist Cyril Almeida commented that Khan has given “a bigger beating to the boys (the military establishment) than Pakistan’s fake democrats could ever dream of…”. In a message posted on the social media platform X, Almeida wrote that the choice before Pakistan is now clear either of “Imran (Khan) or Munir (General Asim Munir)”. Munir is the chief of the Pakistan Army. Khan was jailed after he launched open attacks on the Pakistani military of hatching conspiracy to oust him from the post of the prime minister.

The people voted in Pakistan amid a clampdown on internet services despite a popular outcry. The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan stated that “the ongoing disruption to services has occurred despite the Sindh High Court’s direction to the caretaker government to ensure uninterrupted internet services on polling day”.

The popular verdict of Pakistan came after Khan was served jail terms in access of 10 years and more in three cases. His sister Aleema told British broadcasting journalist Piers Morgan that she feared for her brother’s life. She also said that Khan is facing as many as 102 cases with a court set up in the prison where her brother is incarcerated.

The Pakistan-origin Congressional leaders in the US have also begun campaigns to press for declaring the results of the elections in the Islamic nation. Rashida Tlaib, a Congressional leader, wrote on X, saying: “We must stand with the Pakistani people as their democracy is at serious risk. They should be able to elect their leaders without interference and tampering with the process, and the U.S. must ensure our tax dollars don’t go to anyone undermining that.”

Meanwhile, Vedant Patel, the US State Department’s spokesperson, condemned election violence in Pakistan. He said that the US is keeping a watch on claims of restriction in Pakistan. Strategic affairs experts have held a consensus that the military establishment of Pakistan holds power with the tacit support of the US.

But the US after leaving Afghanistan is seen engaging less with Pakistan. The US retreat has apparently been filled by China. The people in the Islamic country have also lamented that the military establishment in Pakistan orchestrates corruption by buying inflated imports from China by taking debt from Beijing.

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