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Shehbaz Sharif, Pakistan’s departing prime minister, announced last week that he dissolved Parliament—which means the country’s election will not occur until 2024 instead of November. 

The country has been in a state of turmoil since Imran Khan, the former prime minister, was convicted on corruption charges and given a sentence of three years in prison. The Wall Street Journal reported that Khan will not be allowed to run for office again for five years. The paper said “the treatment of Khan and his party [ the Tehreek-e-Insaf party] has raised questions over how fair any election will be.”

There is a general feeling that the elections will likely not be held until next summer because the country will need to reconfigure its constituencies after the recent release of the latest census data.

Anwar-ul-Haq Kakar, a politician with close ties to the military, has been named caretaker prime minister before the election, The New York Times reported.

“He is undoubtedly a choice of the establishment,” Khalid Mahmood Rasool, a political analyst and newspaper columnist, told the paper. 

Kakar was described in an Al Jazeera report as a “little-known senator from Balochistan, Pakistan’s least-populous province.”

TREND FORECAST: The report noted that Sharif also maintained close ties to the country’s military. Sharif was seen as a leader given a bad hand that he made worse after backing out of a deal with the International Monetary Fund. (See “NEW WORLD DISORDER TOP TREND: PAKISTAN STUMBLES TOWARD DEFAULT AS RUPEE’S VALUE SLIDES,” 2 Aug 2022.)

We wrote in 2022 that Dragflation will bring Pakistan’s economy down as inflation goes up, public unrest, protests, riots, and government clampdowns in Pakistan will escalate into a civil war.

Indeed, the IMF issued a 120-page report last week on Pakistan and said, “Resolving Pakistan’s structural challenges, including long-term BOP [balance of payments] pressures, will require continued adjustment and creditor support beyond the current program period.”

TRENDPOST: Imran Khan was seen in the country as something of a Trumpian figure and represented the everyman who has been taken advantage of by a corrupt system. He was elected in 2018 but was ousted in a no-confidence vote before he could complete his five-year term. The Times said Khan has accused the military of being behind his undoing. 

He’s charismatic and speaks up for those who feel left behind by their government, but he is essentially banned on social media and left out of establishment circles. Khan said long before his incarceration that there is no doubt that he would be arrested before the election.

Al Jazeera reported that Khan’s speeches and news conferences “are banned from mainstream media.”

U.S. Meddles 

MSNBC ran an op-ed on Friday titled, “The U.S. Reportedly Meddled With Pakistan’s Democracy Over Russia.

The article, written by Zeeshan Aleem, an editor at the outlet, cited an Intercept report that claimed the Biden administration was willing to “meddle in Pakistan’s democratic process in its efforts to rally a global coalition to isolate Russia.”

The news outlet obtained a classified Pakistani government document that said the U.S. was upset that Khan would not condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

Khan addressed a crowd before his no-confidence vote and criticized Europe for trying to influence Pakistan’s position.  

“Are we your slaves?” Khan told the crowd. “What do you think of us? That we are your slaves and that we will do whatever you ask of us? We are friends of Russia, and we are also friends of the United States. We are friends of China and Europe. We are not part of any alliance.”

That was enough to reportedly get one State Department official to accuse Pakistan of taking an “aggressively neutral position.” 

It was then the State Department encouraged the Pakistani government to oust Khan with a no-confidence vote, which it did days later.

“What you have here is the Biden administration sending a message to the people that they saw as Pakistan’s real rulers, signaling to them that things will be better if he is removed from power,” Arif Rafiq, a non-resident scholar at the Middle East Institute and specialist on Pakistan, told The Intercept.

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