(): Pakistan’s interim prime minister said he expects parliamentary elections to take place in the new year, dismissing the possibility that the country’s powerful military would manipulate the results to ensure that jailed former premier Imran Khan’s party doesn’t win.
In an interview with The Associated Press on Friday, Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar said it’s the Election Commission that is going to conduct the vote, not the military, and Khan appointed the commission’s chief at the time, so “why would he turn in any sense of the word against him?”
Pakistan has been in deepening political turmoil since April 2022 when Khan was removed from office following a no-confidence vote in Parliament. He was arrested in early August on corruption charges and sentenced to three years in prison, later suspended though he still remains in jail. The country is also facing one of the worst economic crises in its history and recovering from last summer’s devastating floods that killed at least 1,700 people and destroyed millions of homes and farmland. The commission announced on Thursday the elections would take place during the last week in January, delaying the vote which was to be held in November under the constitution.
Kakar resigned as a senator last month after outgoing Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and opposition leader Raza Riaz chose him as caretaker prime minister to oversee the elections and run the day-to-day affairs until a new government is elected. Kakar said that when the commission sets an exact election date his government “will provide all the assistance, financial, security or other related requirements.”
Asked whether he would recommend judges overturn Khan’s conviction so he could run in the elections, the prime minister said he wouldn’t interfere with decisions by the judiciary.