Pakistan opposition leader Khan unveils plan for elections
ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistan's opposition leader and former cricket star who has set his hopes on becoming the country's next prime minister unveiled Monday his party's 'manifesto' ahead of this month's parliamentary elections.
Imran Khan is promising 10 million new jobs, 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 ended up unable to make good on them.
But Khan told reporters in Islamabad he was only making commitments that he believes can be implemented — including tackling the 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.
Khan also used the venue to criticize former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif who was sentenced last week in absentia by an anti-graft tribunal to 10 years in prison over purchases of luxury apartments in London.
Sharif, who is in London with his ailing wife, has promised to return to Pakistan. Khan asserted that Sharif indulged in corruption and promised to ensure justice for all and improve the country's ailing economy.
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, who was formally arrested on Sunday, was sent to prison in the garrison city of Rawalpindi on Monday. Analysts say Pakistan will likely have a coalition government after the elections, as no single political party is expected to get a two-third majority in parliament. Any party that gets a simple majority in the 351-seat house can form the government.