There is real optimism that he will end the pillage of state coffers on an industrial scale by the two families, the Bhuttos and Sharifs, who have had a stranglehold on politics in Pakistan for far too long. Both parties, the PPP (which is full of the Bhutto family’s siblings, nephews, in-laws etc) and the PML-N (full of brothers, nephews, in-laws, wife’s family members of the Sharif family) consider the elections to be rigged; that may have some truth to it as both the Sharif and Bhutto clan will game the system in key constituencies (stuffing ballot boxes with the connivance of state officials or removing ballots favoring their opponents, using state machinery and funds for campaigning etc) and if they cant get to do their “thing”, the system is rigged.
Just for the readers here, Benazir Bhutto’s husband, Asif Ali Zardari, head of the PPP, used to be called Mr. 10% in her first stint in office and Mr. 100% in her second stint. He owned a “B grade” cinema in Karachi before Benazir came to power. He currently owns quite a few sugar mills in the country, large tracts of land, apartments in NY, Dubai, the Rockwood Estate in the UK, a chateau in France that we know of. His sister, half brother were heavily involved in taking cuts from contracts while the PPP was in power (before 2013). Wherever they could squeeze a couple of million dollars from the system, they did - never let an opportunity pass. Zardari’s sister, Faryal Talpur was planning to buy the national airline before elections in 2013. They will try that again when they are in power next time!
Nawaz Sharif, was/ is dumb as a dodo and cant string a coherent sentence together (google his press conference with Obama). His brother, daughter, son-in-law, brother-in-law, nephews are all in government and they have a system in place in Punjab where they have “rewarded” their supporters with positions in government and over the last decade or so, those people have, in return, helped the Sharif clan cheat in elections and stay in power. Thats why the PML has been in power in Punjab for the last decade or so. Whoever takes the majority vote in Punjab, often wins the federal elections.
There is real optimism that Imran Khan can put an end to systemic corruption, have a meaningful dialog with the pashtoon militants and help with peace in Afghanistan. He also intends to focus on education, improving services and enforcing laws, thereby protecting the minorities etc.
It IS a summer of hope…