Despite pressure from the international establishment, Pakistan conducted the fairest elections in its’ 70-year history. So far according to exit polls, Imran Khan’s PTI is leading the race to a Parliament majority with the establishment’s favorite Sharif’s PML (N) in the second place. The Election Commission of Pakistan ought to have announced the results after a few hours the polling ended but it was the target of a cyber-attack last night knocking off its’ servers.
Amid allegations of rigging by Sharif’s party, the Election Commission of Pakistan held a press conference and said that the elections were the fairest in Pakistan’s history. A few sheets of paper that Sharif’s PML (N) presented as evidence of rigging was just debunked by a leading media agency in Pakistan and it turns out they were forged. So the only form of rigging that did take place was from the establishment-friendly Sharif’s PML (N).
Ever since the Supreme Court of Pakistan ousted former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on corruption charges, efforts from the international establishment were underway to make the elections questionable. News articles were published; interviews from the most controversial and failing newspapers were broadcasted with no one voice allowed to challenge them. The international narrative accused Pakistan’s military of forming a nexus with the judiciary to enforce a silent coup even though the next Prime Minister from PML (N) was a Sharif loyalist and his party still controlled the government.
In the events leading up to the elections, a Sharif compatriot for 35 years, Chaudhry Nisar, sidelined himself as Sharif and his party hired international lobbying firms and increased their attacks on the military and judiciary in public addresses and advertising campaigns. Those close to Sharif including his own daughter called Nisar a military stooge as he came out against public denigration of government institutions of Pakistan.
Their attacks on Nisar only increased when he chose to contest elections, as an independent even after PML (N) was willing to put him in the ballot. Parliamentary laws in Pakistan do not allow individual Parliamentarians to vote against party lines so as an independent, Nisar could have backed Imran Khan but as a candidate who won on the PML (N) ticket, he would be bound to pledge support for the Sharifs.
Despite accusations of being a military stooge contesting in military-administered elections, Chaudhry Nisar lost every Parliamentary seat that he was contesting. For the first time in nearly 33 years, he will not be a Parliamentarian.
Imran Khan is the only chairman of a major Pakistani political party who is not a billionaire and has no financial ties outside of Pakistan and thus is not subject to any pressure from the international establishment.
With Pakistan facing economic woes, a weak government would have capitulated to international demands to give up its’ nuclear arsenal in return for a financial relief. Imran Khan has promised that as the Prime Minister, he will not succumb to any international pressure that threatens Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal, the only thing keeping India and Pakistan from a full-fledged war.
In a world full of Hillary Clintons and Barack Obamas, Imran Khan is a Bernie Sanders.