Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Thursday, October 18th, 2018

Imran Khan’s Victory: An opportunity or Threat to Afghanistan

Pakistanis went to the polls on Wednesday, July 25, to elect another National Assembly for a five-year term. The general mood among observers seemed of great concern before the election. Political analysts hold this was for three reasons:
First, the run up to the elections was filled with reports of impediments to the course of normal democratic politics. Some media frequently put it saying that violence and claims of election-rigging overshadowed Pakistan’ election. Pakistan  political parties including The Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) group (PML-N) kept complaining that its supporters were arrested ahead of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s return home on July 13 to be jailed on corruption charges; Further, the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) said their workers were stopped from holding rallies. Some analysts speculated that the military shaping the environment ahead of the polls to favor Imran Khan, head of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI).
Second, there were many reports on Media members, limitations on the media, and the reports of self-censorship as a result had created a media environment incapable of covering parties, the problems, and the election in a free manner.
Third, political observers hold that, Pakistan for this general election allowed the candidates of people with known and suspicious ties to internationally-designated terrorist groups and violent sectarian outfits.
Imran Khan’s Victory as an opportunity for Afghanistan
There will be many opportunities including rapprochement with India to working with the United States to end the war in Afghanistan. As Khan has highlighted in his preamble to the foreign policy section of his speech, Pakistan’s economic crisis and the need for the country, as a result, to make peace with all its neighbors are the core issues that have direct impacts on Afghanistan. This is obviously an ambitious goal but one that has eluded Pakistan for decades. Based on this agenda, he shall address a wide range of issues to put Pakistan’s economy on the right track. To this end Pakistan needs to have good relations with China, to enjoy the lessons of China to lift Pakistan out of poverty, to have good relations with Afghanistan with open borders to have access to the Central Asian countries, to have good relations with the United States, to enjoy the generous funds of the United States, and change the one way relationship as he puts it to a balanced relationship.  Khan has highlighted his desire to improve trade and commercial ties to benefit both countries and reduce poverty.  As Afghanistan has very friendly to strategic relationships to the above mentioned countries, if Khan pursues his foreign policy on economic development of Pakistan, it would benefit Pakistan, Afghanistan and the region and beyond.
Imran Khan’s Victory as a threat for Afghanistan
Some political affairs experts see no positive changes in Pakistan’s policy towards Afghanistan under the new government, because what they hold that the country’s foreign policy is ‘controlled’ by the military. Political analysts say that Imran Khan has good relations with extremist groups including the Afghan Taliban and HN, and in the past the former cricketer has widely supported the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan. Further, they say that since Khan is in a position to form a weak coalition government and thus he would peruse the agenda of military for political sustainability in Pakistan. In addition, some political analysts emphasis that the Afghan government should continue its old policy and globally promote Pakistan’s careless behavior and non-cooperative role supporting the terrorist groups in Afghanistan. In addition, political analysts said that Pakistani politicians after reaching powers had always given positive comments about Afghanistan but they have continued the same policy in practice. They held that Pakistan civilian government was not in a prosition to pursue a different policy from the military policy of Pakistan. As a result, political analysts hold that Imran Khan’s government was not able to bring peace to Afghanistan.
There have been mixed responses in Afghanistan on Imran Khans’ election victory. Political analysts’ foresee opportunities and threats for Afghanistan due to this victory. However, the Afghan government and nation welcomed the ex-cricket hero’s vowing to nurture cordial relations with neighboring countries, including Afghanistan, India and the, USA and Iran. Afghanistan expects Imran Khan to come forward with a solid plan to integrate this region, as he has pledged, economically and to transform the hostilities to regional cooperation.