Rise and fall of Imran Khan in a political game filled with many googles and bouncers

Former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, a cricketing hero turned politician who was arrested on Tuesday, has garnered popular support amid decades-high inflation and a crippling crisis. economic downturn before his ousting last year.
The 70-year-old has since shown no signs of slowing down, even after he was injured in an attack on his convoy in November while leading a protest march to Islamabad calling for a snap general election.
Khan had avoided for months Stop in a number of cases filed against him which include charges of inciting mobs to violence. There have been massive protests against previous attempts to arrest him.
Khan was forced out of the post of prime minister in April last year amid public frustration at high inflation, growing deficits and endemic corruption he promised to root out.
The Supreme Court overturned his decision to dissolve parliament and defections from his ruling coalition caused him to lose the ensuing vote of no confidence.
This put him among a long list of elected Pakistani prime ministers who failed to complete their terms – none since independence in 1947.
In 2018, the cricketing legend who led Pakistan to their only World Cup victory in 1992, rallied the country behind his vision of a prosperous, corruption-free nation respected abroad. But the fame and charisma of the incendiary nationalist were not enough.
Once criticized for being under the thumb of the powerful military establishment, Khan’s ousting came following the deterioration of relations between him and General Qamar Javed Bajwa, then army chief.
The military, which plays an outsized role in Pakistan after ruling the country for nearly half of its history and seizing control of some of its biggest economic institutions, has said it remains neutral on politics.
But Khan is again among the country’s most popular leaders, according to local polls.
His rise to power in 2018 came more than two decades after he launched his political party, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), or Pakistan Justice Movement Party, in 1996.
Despite its fame and hero status in cricket-mad Pakistan, the PTI languished in the political wasteland of Pakistan, winning no seats other than Khan’s for 17 years.
In 2011, Khan began attracting huge crowds of young Pakistanis disillusioned with rampant corruption, chronic power shortages, and education and unemployment crises.
He attracted even greater support in the years that followed, with educated Pakistani expats quitting their jobs to work for his party and pop musicians and actors joining his campaign.
His goal, Khan told supporters in 2018, was to transform Pakistan from a country with a “small group of rich people and a sea of ​​poor people” into an “example of a human system, a just system, for the world, of what an Islamic system is”. the welfare state is”.
That year he claimed victory, marking a rare rise for a sports hero to the pinnacle of politics. Observers, however, warned that his biggest enemy was his own rhetoric, having sent supporters’ hopes skyrocketing.
Born in 1952, the son of a civil engineer, Khan grew up with four sisters in an affluent urban Pashtun family in Lahore, Pakistan’s second city.
After a privileged upbringing, he went to Oxford University where he graduated with a degree in philosophy, politics and economics.
As his cricket career flourished, he developed a reputation as a playboy in London in the late 1970s.
In 1995, he married Jemima Goldsmith, daughter of business tycoon James Goldsmith. The couple, who had two sons together, divorced in 2004. A second marriage to TV journalist Reham Nayyar Khan also ended in divorce.
His third marriage to Bushra Bibi, a spiritual leader whom Khan had come to know during his visits to a 13th-century shrine in Pakistan, reflected his growing interest in Sufism – a form of Islamic practice that emphasizes closeness. spiritual with God.
Once in power, Khan embarked on his plan to build a “welfare” state modeled on what he said was an ideal system dating back to the Islamic world some 14 centuries earlier.
But his anti-corruption campaign has been heavily criticized as a tool to weed out political opponents – many of whom have been jailed for corruption.
Pakistani generals also remained powerful, and military officers, retired and serving, were put in charge of more than a dozen civilian institutions.


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