In election-charged Pakistan, Mahathir makes an 'appearance'

Arturo Kim
July 24, 2018

Ex-cricketer Khan is perceived as army favourite for becoming the next prime minister.

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A candidate from the party of Pakistan prime ministerial hopeful and former cricket star Imran Khan has been killed in a suicide attack.

A candidate in this week's general elections was killed Sunday in a suicide bomb attack while on his way to a campaign event in northwest Pakistan, adding to concerns over public safety in an election in which at least 160 people have died this month in political attacks.

Khan has praised Sharif's imprisonment on corruption charges as proof democracy is maturing in Pakistan.

The military has ruled Pakistan through various coups for almost half of the country's history since independence in 1947.

Ikramullah Gandapur, a member of cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party (or PTI), was contesting polls for the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa provincial assembly.

They contend that both of the parties: PMLN and PPP are steeped in a plenty of corruption insofar as the party leadership, let alone any Tom Dick and Harry of the party, is found guilty of gulping down the billion rupees and are confronting with the cases of the money laundering.

Pakistan is expected to continue strengthening its ties with China even if Khan comes to power since most of the assurances that China has on its investments and returns have come through the power corridors of the military establishment.

Gandapur was the former agriculture minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

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Many experts contend that it will be business as usual whoever wins the election, with the military - which has ruled the country directly or indirectly for much of its 71-year history - remaining Pakistan's de facto ruler.

The divisive campaign is likely to complicate any coalition negotiations after the vote, if they are necessary. "Behind you skipper", Younis said in at tweet.

Of the 272 seats of National Assembly, elections will be held on 270 seats.

In 2013, the PML-N won 126 seats, while Khan's party came third with 28 seats.

Nawaz Sharif himself has accused the generals of targeting his party, including intimidating his candidates to switch allegiances - particularly in Punjab province.

Two new hard-right Islamist parties also may cut into the PML-N's conservative voter base.

Sharif and daughter Maryam Nawaz, who was also found guilty, returned to face their prison sentences.

Sharif released an audio recording from jail on Monday, urging supporters to send his party back to government for a second term.

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