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Imran Khan popularity, Does opposition stand a chance? -
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Imran Khan popularity, Does opposition stand a chance?

Analysts believe Imran Khan wouldn't be able to participate, let alone win the elections.

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4 mins read
Imran khan

Millions in Pakistan want to see Imran Khan as their prime minister once again.

A recent survey by Gallup International also revealed how intensely the people of Pakistan associate with Imran Khan with over 61% of Pakistanis rating him positive.

But can this popularity translate into a victory in the next general elections?.

Analysts believe he wouldn’t be able to participate, let alone win the elections. 

Imran Khan popularity reached new heights

Since his ouster, Imran Khan has been uploading videos, blaming military officials and a foreign power for orchestrating a conspiracy.

The PDM government, a coalition of parties that took over after Imran Khan, did everything possible to quiche Imran Khan’s popularity, but they achieved nothing.

Imran Khan’s popularity spiked to unprecedented levels when the videos of him being dragged by police officers went viral.

His name echoed in the US congress as the PTI-US chapter lobbied to highlight human rights abuses of the previous government.

The policies of the interim government haven’t changed either as the current Prime Minister Kakar openly suggested polls without Imran Khan.

Imran Khan popularity as compared to other politicians
Graphics: Dawn News

Will Imran Khan run for elections?

First and foremost, before we talk about winning an election, it’s important to see if Imran Khan will be able to run in the first place.

In his interview to the Associated Press, Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar said that free and fair elections were possible without Imran Khan.

JUI’s leader Maulana Fazl-Ur-Rehman also said that Imran Khan’s return to power was out of the question.

He recently changed his statement and asked for a level playing field for everyone, including Imran Khan.

So, it’s highly unlikely he’ll be able to run for elections in 2024.

In another online survey by World Times, more than 97% of people favored Imran Khan

Popularity and elections

Now, here is the tricky part, can Imran Khan’s popularity make him win an election if he could take part?.

It might be the case in some countries like France, Uk or the US where democratic consciousness is strong, but not in Pakistan.

There are three scenarios that we are going to focus on;

  1. Imran Khan participates, but the elections are manipulated.
  2. Imran Khan is forced not to participate.
  3. Imran Khan participates in free elections.

In the first scenario, the outcome wouldn’t be in Imran Khan’s favor as we know how it goes in Pakistan.

According to Umair Javed, teacher of politics and sociology at LUMS, popularity doesn’t necessarily translate into a victory in elections. In his article “Popularity and elections”, he explained statistically why popularity is not a factor in Pakistan’s politics.

In the second scenario, Imran Khan will remain behind bars and hence, wouldn’t participate.

In the third scenario, Imran Khan will emerge a winner but that is far from a fact.

“Whenever we have that – and I don’t think we have a possibility of this happening in the coming years – but whenever we have it, Imran Khan will have his opportunity.” Dr. Rasul Bakhsh Rais, professor of Political Science at LUMS told the Arab News

Finally, Politicians often win the establishment’s favor, but now, that seems impossible at the moment of Imran Khan.

Nawaz Sharif was also ousted in 2017, but now he is expected to run for elections again

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