In Pakistan, former Prime Minister Imran Khan threatens to further destabilize the country


Former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan at the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital in Lahore, Pakistan, November 4, 2022, after being injured in an attack the day before.

Imran Khan plays the scorched earth policy at the risk of precipitating Pakistan into chaos. The former prime minister threatens to dissolve, Friday, December 23, two of the four regional assemblies, those that his party leads directly or with allies, Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Punjab represents half of the Pakistani population, 110 million out of 220 million inhabitants. This operation with random results is part of the showdown that the former prime minister has been waging for eight months with the government of Shehbaz Sharif to demand early elections.

The former cricket champion, ousted from power in April after the vote of a motion of no confidence in Parliament, considers himself the victim of a political plot and asks that the people arbitrate. The government refuses because its adversary enjoys phenomenal popularity. Since his departure from power, he has mobilized gigantic crowds. At the head of a march towards Islamabad, he had been the victim, on November 3, of an attack. Wounded in the leg, he was forced into forced rest.

The regional assemblies in Pakistan, four in number, have significant powers, and the organization of elections would represent a cumbersome process for the government, while the country is in the grip of an unprecedented political, ecological, economic and security crisis. . To justify his call to the polls, Imran Khan explains that he fears that, by October, the date scheduled for the general elections, « Pakistan is reaching a point of no return ». « The worry is that our economy is collapsing, it’s going into a spin »he said in front of foreign journalists.

In terms of security, Pakistan is paying dearly for the return of the Taliban to Afghanistan, when it rejoiced in the time of Imran Khan, the fall of Kabul and the departure of Westerners

The economy is in very bad shape, weakened by the Covid-19 pandemic, by the consequences of the war in Ukraine on the cost of energy and by the major floods in the summer of 2022, which submerged a third of land and resulted in losses estimated at $40 billion (38 Billions of Euro’s). On Wednesday, the Pakistani Prime Minister urged the international community to provide his country with the aid it desperately needs. “Even today, 20 million flood victims need urgent humanitarian aid”, said Mr. Sharif, during a visit to the province of Sindh, in the south of the country. Snow, as he recalled, has started to fall in some areas, adding to the difficulties of the populations.

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