Imran Khan and his supporters are celebrating after PTI’s historic landslide victory in the Punjab by-elections. This victory is historic not only because it undermined PML-N’s longstanding hegemony in Punjab but also because, despite its control over state bodies and institutions, the PML-N still suffered a major defeat.
The loss was so obvious that Maryam Nawaz and other party members acknowledged the party’s defeat, breaking years of tradition. Maryam Nawaz also urged them to focus on the party’s weaknesses so that such a shameful defeat would never happen again. The next step in Punjab is to vote for the province’s prime minister. After the by-election, the PML-N did not have enough MPs left to keep Hamza in power. The PTI/PML-Q Alliance currently has 188 members out of 371, which is more than a simple majority of 186. This means that Perwaiz Elahi has the potential to become Punjab’s next Chief Minister.
This is the first time Khan has spoken with Pakistan since his party’s victory in the 2022 Punjab provincial by-election. He said PTI won due to a high turnout of his supporters despite massive fraud. One small example of election rigging he was referring to was the apprehended APO, who admitted to adding 600 votes for PML-N.
Mr. Khan stated he has no confidence in the current election commissioner and must resign for free and fair elections. Since his controversial removal via the no-confidence motion (to say the least), Mr. Khan has remained well-determined and has succeeded in mobilizing a vast majority of the people behind his narrative of an “American conspiracy implemented by national elements.”
Tehreek-e-Insaf’s wish for General Elections
PTI Chairman Imran Khan has been demanding that the PDM go for a free and fair early election. He asks for the creation of a new government—hopefully with a heavy mandate—which can resolve the current political and economic ruptures. Pakistan’s current state, both political and economic wise, is bleak, to say the least.
The ongoing crisis in Sri Lanka and the revolt against the Rajapaksas is a scary thought that must be festering in the government officials’ heads. The PDM is aware that such a revolt can manifest in Pakistan, owing to the Sri Lanka-like political and economic landscape – if such a dire occurrence does occur, it will result in the PDM’s political death.
Many Pakistanis’ thoughts are in-line with Imran Khan and PTI’s discourse that the PDM came to power for self-preservation. Examples include how the PDM clipped the wings of NAB, its controversial postings of FIA officers investigating its cases, and rejecting important electoral reforms. Furthermore, PML-N’s Khurram Dastagir and Javed Latif recently admitted on television that their party members were told, and even threatened, to bring the no-confidence motion against Imran Khan to overthrow him; otherwise, Mr. Khan would stay in power to pursue corruption cases against them.
Early General Elections
Within such a political environment, the pressure on PDM is coming to a head, especially after PTI’s landscape victory in the Punjab by-elections. In this regard, Khan has several options available to the country to conduct early elections. PDM demands the dissolution of the National Assembly
The simplest option is to demand elections without fanfare. Imran Khan has done this since his dismissal, except for one unsuccessful long march. But this time around, his demands will take on greater weight due to the momentum of the Punjab by-elections.
The federal government’s Shahbaz Sharif mixed government has multiple seats. It can explode anytime due to increased internal pressure (described above). Mr. Sharif is a clever politician who understands that it’s time to play safely after losing Punjab and dissolve the NA so his party can maintain face. At the same time, the PDM could use the political rhetoric that “we came to power but resigned for the common good of the country .”It would have been better if we had disbanded sooner, but it is not too late. But saving face would be a vain dream for PDM; if such a move were delayed or rejected outright, Khan would undoubtedly take other drastic measures. This gives PTI a variety of options available.
On the other side, Pakistan will remain on the “Grey List” of countries under increased monitoring of FATF, a statement issued from the from the global money-laundering and terror-financing watchdog stated on Friday. It said the country might be removed from the list after an on-site visit to verify the implementation of their recommended reforms on countering terror-financing mechanisms in the country. “Pakistan is not being removed from the Grey List today. It will be removed if the on-site visit finds that its actions are sustainable,” the FATF president said. He said a formal announcement on Pakistan’s removal would follow an on-site inspection, which would be conducted before October. “At its June 2022 plenary, the FATF made the initial determination that Pakistan has substantially completed its two action plans, covered 34 items, and warranted an on-site visit to verify that the implementation of
Pakistan’s AML (anti-money laundering) and CFT (combatting the financing of terrorism) reforms has begun and is being sustained and that the necessary political commitment remains in place to sustain implementation and improvement in the future,” the statement said. The June 2022 plenary session of the FATF was held in Germany’s Berlin. The report noted that since 2018, Pakistan’s continued political commitment to combat terror financing and money laundering has led to “significant progress.”
The Paris-based watchdog had included Pakistan in its “Grey List” — a list of countries with strategic deficiencies in their regimes to counter money laundering, terror financing and proliferation financing but which have formally committed to working with the task force to make changes under increased monitoring — in 2018.