Has Pakistan’s political system failed to produce a Game changer in decades? Will Imran Khan prove to be a Game changer in Pakistan? There’s no doubt that Imran is popular in urban centers but he is not well-liked in rural areas. This is evident in the response to his visit to the Punjab district of Mianwali. A writer based in Islamabad visited the area to assess Imran’s popularity.
The rise of Imran Khan is rooted in a number of factors, including a rejection of bad governance and corruption in Pakistan and a desire for better relations with India. But the most critical factor is Imran’s mediocre political background. Imran was a successful international cricket player and may have realized that India is not an existential threat. If so, he may wish to improve ties with India, but he might not be able to deliver, risking damaging relations.
Imran Khan’s shady election campaign was largely characterized by irregularities and a negative portrayal of the opposition party PML-N. While he was accused of using the army as a political muscle, he nevertheless managed to appeal to Pakistan’s conservative, urban middle class constituency and a few retired military men. Despite these negatives, Khan’s emergence as the next prime minister may prove to be an unqualified success.
The military, whose majority support Imran Khan enjoys, has a strong hold over the country’s foreign policy, has been uncomfortable with Khan’s style of diplomacy. However, he is an experienced civilian interlocutor and has committed to visit China and Saudi Arabia soon. If the Army and the military are contented with the deteriorating relationship between the two countries, he may be persuaded to improve relations with India.