Pakistan opposition leader Khan unveils election platform
ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistan opposition leader Imran Khan, a former cricket star who hopes to become the next prime minister, unveiled his party’s manifesto Monday ahead of this month’s parliamentary elections.
Khan is promising 10 million new jobs and better health and education facilities if he wins the July 25 vote. Titled “Road to New Pakistan,” the manifesto is similar to other ambitious past pledges by political parties that were never realized.
Khan told reporters in Islamabad he was only making commitments that he believes can be implemented — including addressing widespread poverty by turning Pakistan into an Islamic welfare state.
“An easy solution to the problems that Pakistan is faced with does not exist,” he said.
On the foreign policy front, Khan said he wants good relations with the United States and Pakistan’s neighbors.
Khan also used the venue to criticize former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who was sentenced to 10 years in prison in absentia last week by an anti-graft tribunal over the purchase of luxury apartments in London. Sharif, who is in London with his ailing wife, has promised to return to Pakistan.
The same court that sentenced Sharif also sentenced his daughter, Maryam Nawaz, to seven years in absentia in a case stemming from documents leaked from a Panama law firm. Her husband, Mohammad Safdar, was sentenced to one year for giving false information to investigators. Safdar was arrested on Sunday.
Polls have Khan’s party running close to Sharif’s. Analysts say Pakistan will likely have a coalition government after the elections, as no single political party is expected to get a two-thirds majority in parliament. Any party that gets a simple majority in the 351-seat house can form the government.
In a separate development on Monday, authorities added former president Asif Zardari, his sister Faryal Talpur, close associate Anwar Majeed and several others to a travel ban list. A three-judge panel ordered the move, which is related to an investigation into suspected illegal money transfers. The court summoned all those involved to a hearing scheduled for next week.
Zardari heads the party of slain leader Benazir Bhutto, which is also contesting the July 25 vote.
Associated Press reporter Zarar Khan in Islamabad contributed.