Just when many thought Pakistan was finally on the trajectory towards a functioning democratic system, unrest broke out in a number of cities and provided a stark reminder just how fragile the country’s politics remain. This whole situation not only threatens democracy in South Asia’s second most populous country but also draws attention and resources from sustainable development and humanitarian challenges. Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Imran Khan accuses the current Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, ofrigging the May 2013 elections and robbing him of victory, and is calling for him to stand down. All sorts ofallegations and rumours are being thrown into the mix – has Khan been plotting this for months in collaboration with the disgruntled army? Is the army using Khan as a pawn to oust a government that is diminishing the role of the army in politics? Who knows? Khan’s actions make one thing clear: that he is willing to jeopardise Pakistan’s burgeoning political stability.
Showing his distrust in the institutions of judiciary and Election Commission, the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf has threatened to launch a protest campaign after Eid if its reservations about the election results are not removed. “We’ll take to the streets after Eid if poll rigging is not investigated in a transparent manner,” Imran Khan said at a press conference on Monday. The PTI chief, who has yet to take oath as MNA, said he would raise the issue in his maiden speech in the National Assembly. He said it was baffling that the PML-N, which had obtained only 6.8 million votes when it was at the peak of its popularity (in 1997), managed to secure 10.4 million votes in the May 11 elections.