NEW YORK: The interim Prime Minister, Anwaarul Haq Kakar, has expressed his expectation that parliamentary elections will occur in the upcoming year. He dismissed the notion that the country’s influential military would manipulate the election results to ensure that the imprisoned former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s party doesn’t win, describing such a possibility as “completely unfounded.”
Kakar emphasized that it is the Election Commission, not the military, that will oversee the elections. He pointed out that Imran Khan appointed the current chief of the commission, so there is no reason for him to act against his own appointee. He pledged that his government would provide all necessary support, whether financial, security, or otherwise, once the Election Commission sets a specific election date.
When asked if he would recommend that the judiciary overturn Khan’s conviction to allow him to run in the elections, Kakar stated that he wouldn’t interfere with judicial decisions. He stressed that the judiciary should not be used as a tool for political purposes, emphasizing that they are not pursuing a personal vendetta against anyone but are focused on upholding the law.
Regarding concerns about fair elections, Kakar asserted that they can take place without Khan or the hundreds of members of his party who are incarcerated due to unlawful activities, including vandalism and arson during the protests following Khan’s initial arrest in May. He mentioned that those members of Khan’s party who did not engage in such activities would participate in the political process and the elections.
Kakar, who is reported to have close ties to the military, downplayed allegations of military involvement in politics, stating that such allegations are common in their political culture. He described the working relationship between his government and the military as smooth, open, and candid.
Acknowledging challenges in civil-military relations, Kakar attributed the imbalance to the deterioration in the performance of civilian institutions over several decades. He suggested that the solution lies in gradually improving the performance of civilian institutions rather than weakening the military, as the latter would not address the country’s problems.
Meanwhile, the PTI has strongly reacted to the interim prime minister’s statement about elections without Imran Khan and its detained workers, saying that PTI is the biggest party and Imran Khan is the most popular leaders in the country.
The PTI said that elections without PTI and Imran Khan would be illegal, unconstitutional and immoral, which will never be accepted by the people.