Imran Khan, pads up for a new innings today as he is going to tale the oath of office as the new Prime Minister of India, 22 years after he formed the party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, or PTI, to cleanse Pakistan politics.
His ascent will also mark and end of decades of political dominance by Pakistan’s two dynastic powerhouses, the Bhuttos and Shariffs in Pakistan.
Mr Khan had run a populist campaign promising to change the lives of Pakistanis and come down hard on corruption. “Those people who have looted the country, I promise that they will be brought to justice,” Mr Khan reiterated yesterday after winning the acrimonious vote in parliament for the top seat.
The former cricketer had invited three of his contemporary players from India, Navjot Singh Sidhu, Sunil Gavaskar and Kapil Dev to his oath ceremony. Only Mr Sidhu has made it to Pakistan for the event.
Mr Khan’s party had emerged as the single largest party in last month’s election but it fell short of outright majority. The PTI has scraped through a simple majority in parliament’s confidence vote on Friday on the strength of support from smaller parties.
The majority mark was 172; he secured 176 votes. His only rival, Shahbaz Sharif of the ousted Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, or PML-N, won 96 votes. Mr Khan’s victory ends the rotating leadership of Pakistan between the PML-N and the Bhutto family-led Pakistan Peoples Party, with periods of military rule in between.
The former cricket legend has struggled for 22 years to turn popular support into electoral gains for the party he launched after retiring from cricket in 1996. Just four years earlier, he had led the Pakistan cricket team to win the 1992 World Cup that turned him into an international celebrity.