Pakistan elections 2013 - the parties

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf – former cricketer’s party could be game changer

Reuters/Ahsan Baloch

A relatively new kid on the Pakistani political block, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) hopes its campaigns against corruption and national pride will bring electoral gains that have so far eluded it.


Probably the only party in the world to be set up by a former national cricket captain, PTI, whose name means Pakistan Movement for Justice, started with a guaranteed high profile thanks to the fame and charisma of its founder, Imran Khan.

  • Leader: Imran Khan
  • Founder: Imran Khan
  • Founded: 1996
  • In power: Never, so far

Launching the movement in the 1990s, Khan angrily denounced the corruption of the country’s leading politicians, as well as business leaders and state officials.

He called for a modern, democratic Islam that would mean a welfare state committed to clean government and some form of social justice.

He also called for an end to foreign “interference”, which has led to a pledge to stop all foreign aid and protests against US drone strikes in the tribal agencies along the Afghan frontier.

PTI failed to turn its leader’s popularity into electoral support in the 2002 elections, when only Khan won a seat, and boycotted the 2008 poll.

But, with growing discontent over corruption, incompetence and power cuts, Khan’s recent rallies and demonstrations have attracted massive turnouts, with more than 100,000 attending a meeting in Lahore in 2011.

Dossier: Pakistan General Election 2013

But Khan has been criticised for working with the religious right while he was an MP and in some of his anti-US protests and recently for opening the party up to mainstream politicians, such as PPP defector and former foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi.

The party’s main support seems to have come from the growing young middle class and he could steal support from Nawaz Sharif’s PML-N.

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