Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

#Ferguson

Read more

DEBATE

After Ferguson: What's Broken in America? (part 2)

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Tunisia’s Essebsi ‘personifies old regime’, says opponent Marzouki

Read more

DEBATE

After Ferguson: What's Broken in America?

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

David Nabarro, UN special envoy on Ebola

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Tunisia’s Essebsi says ready to form pluralist govt

Read more

WEB NEWS

USA: online reactions to the death of Tamir Rice

Read more

FOCUS

Working with offenders also key to ending domestic violence

Read more

ENCORE!

Man Booker Prize Winner Eleanor Catton

Read more

An in-depth report by our senior reporters and team of correspondents from around the world. Every Saturday at 8.40 pm Paris time.

REPORTERS

REPORTERS

Latest update : 2014-09-02

Pakistan: Imran Khan, from the cricket field to politics

When Pakistanis go to the polls to choose a new prime minister on May 11th, one candidate could seriously shake up the race. Cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan, who led the country to victory in its favourite sport, now wants to lead the country. Our reporters followed him on the campaign trail.

Imran Khan claims a “tsunami” will sweep away the ruling elite and put him into the driving seat of a nuclear power rife with terrorism and burdened with a failing economy.

Disillusioned with the state of affairs, the public is looking for “change” that Imran Khan is promising.

The ruling elite he wants to unseat includes the husband of the late Benazir Bhutto, Asif Ali Zardari, currently president of Pakistan, and Nawaz Sharif, a former prime minister and currently leader of the opposition Pakistan Muslim League-N. Both have been widely panned for their performance since General Pervez Musharraf resigned in 2008.

But Khan is not just campaigning against the ruling elite; he also wants Pakistan to review its policy on the War on Terror. It’s a war in which the country’s military has been playing a double role by unofficially talking with the Taliban while working closely with the West since 2001, when Musharraf made Pakistan a front-line state in the War on Terror.

Now, with the NATO pullout in 2014 from Afghanistan looming, Khan’s desire to review Pakistan’s foreign and internal security policy has led to him being dubbed “Taliban Khan” by his opponents, who accuse him of being the military’s front man.

Critics say the military wants to ensure that next year, a Pakistani-friendly government is installed in neighbouring Afghanistan once the NATO forces leave, and that then their double-dealing strategy could pay off.

Khan could be the man for the job, in a country where many ordinary politicians became head of state on the endorsement of the Pakistani military.

But Khan wasn’t always close to the military. He was once labelled a playboy due to his lifestyle in London, where he went to school and subsequently married the daughter of one of the richest families in the world.

Despite this, after Khan led Pakistan to victory in Cricket World Cup in 1992 his popularity soared. After retiring from the sport, Khan turned his attention to philanthropy and then politics, but he has been unable to make a real mark as yet.

Our correspondents Taha Siddiqui and Julien Fouchet take you on the campaign trail with Imran Khan around Pakistan, as he woos the urban population - especially its youth, with whom he is popular due to his celebrity status - to help him win.

But his real challenge is in winning in rural Pakistan, which comprises 70 percent of the country, and where powerful landlords own everything, even the votes. With a rightist agenda that suits the military, many feel he may be able to finally make a mark - provided that his popularity translate into votes on polling day.

By Taha SIDDIQUI , Julien FOUCHET

COMMENT(S)

Archives

2014-11-21 National Front party (France)

France’s National Front in the spotlight

With the National Front on the rise in France, our reporters returned to three towns where the far-right party’s mayoral candidates won the most recent local elections.

Read more

2014-11-14 Somalia

Somaliland: A would-be nation state

In the eyes of the international community, Somaliland is an autonomous region in Somalia, on the Horn of Africa. But most of its 3.5 million inhabitants do not consider the...

Read more

2014-11-07 Liberia

Liberia: The daily threat of Ebola

Liberia is one of the countries most affected by the outbreak of Ebola, along with Sierra Leone and Guinea.

Read more

2014-10-31 Mexico

USA - Mexico: A danger-ridden border

It’s one of the most porous borders in the world. Each month, abetted by smugglers working with drug cartels, thousands of Hispanic immigrants try to cross the frontier between...

Read more

2014-10-24 Spain

Why does Catalonia want to leave Spain?

On November 9, 2014, Catalans were due to vote in a referendum on independence. But the poll was cancelled by the Constitutional Court after Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s...

Read more