In his 22-year-old political struggle, Imran Khan maintained his status as a cricket lord loved by the world – even rivals. However, in the weeks up to the general elections, the charismatic cricketer-turned-politician fondly known as ‘Kaptaan’, attracted undue negative attention from Indian media.
Presenting the next Prime Minister of Islamic Republic of Pakistan. pic.twitter.com/5ZTYU1BSFi— Aditya Raj Kaul (@AdityaRajKaul) July 26, 2018
India's News18 elaborated on how the term ‘Taliban Khan’ was coined, another local publication called him an ‘army puppet’. The Times Now live-coverage ran “India’s enemy Imran to be PM.”
Debates on Indian news channels revolved around Imran's sincerity to the war on terror to him being ‘selected’ and not ‘elected’ to run the country. Some went on to allege the premier-in-waiting was a mere face brought on by the Army, others termed it a ‘sham’ democracy and doubted Imran would be able to achieve anything as he was “far more at the mercy of the military than his predecessor".
PTI eyes two-thirds majority in K-P Assembly
Following his victory speech where he commented on Indian media's portrayal of him as a "Bollywood villain", the PTI chairman stated that his incoming government would like better relations with the neighbouring country. Hosts and analysts on Indian media chided him for reading out a ‘familiar’ script.
“If you take one step, we will take two,” said Imran as he urged for better relations. But Indian media appeared offended by Imran highlighting the Kashmir cause. "Kashmir cannot be made a core issue," insisted a host on ABP. "It was not the right time to bring up Kashmir," added one of the guests.
But for those who knew him, Imran's victory was long-time coming.
In an interview, former Indian cricketer and captain of the world-cup winning team, Kapil Dev, praised Imran for his perseverance. "Imran was the first captain to push for neutral umpires, I knew it then that he was a good man," he said.
"Some of his closest friends are from India. He is well-travelled. He has the rational to steer his country in a better direction and the sense to work towards what is better not just for Pakistan but for neighbouring country," dwelled Kapil. "No other cricketer has reached the level Imran has in politics – it all because of his dedication."
ECP rejects political parties' claim of 'rigging' on election day
Although PTI's has secured enough seats in National, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab assemblies to take lead, it is yet to announce Imran's nomination as the premier-elect. Meanwhile, the Election Commission if Pakistan (ECP) continues to confirm results - two days after the general elections.
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