Wednesday, April 25, 2018

London-based Exotix Capital: "Coalition led by PTI has become more likely"

Exotix Capital, a UK investment firm specializing in emerging markets, hosted Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chief Imran Khan at its London headquarter this week.  After the event, a tweet from the firm said the PTI Chief  addressed "senior representatives of some of the world’s biggest institutional investors" at this meeting.

Source: Exotix

During discussion that followed his presentation, Imran Khan showed "Reluctant acceptance that IMF assistance may be necessary" and expressed "pragmatism on the need for constructive US relations" and "regret over the lack of transparency of pricing in Chinese-led infrastructure projects", according to a report.

Based on the events in Pakistan since July, 2017 beginning with the disqualification of Mr. Nawaz Sharif from holding elected office, analysts at Exotix have concluded that a "coalition led by PTI has become more likely". The analysts say this is "positive long term, warning short term"

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Riaz Haq said...

Sharif’s legal woes, which the veteran leader says are politically motivated, could further boost Khan in the run up to the elections as an anti-corruption court is due to soon deliver a verdict on another Sharif trial. Khan has predicted Sharif will be jailed before the polls, likely in July.

To dislodge Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party, Khan’s PTI will have to make inroads into Pakistan’s biggest province, which is home to 110 million people and a well-oiled PML-N electoral machine built over several decades.

With the red-brick minarets of Lahore’s Mughal-era Badshahi mosque in sight, Khan outlined a populist 11-point plan to usher in a new era of prosperity that he envisages for Pakistan after the general election at which he hopes to become prime minister.

“Today we are at crossroads,” said Khan, a former cricketing hero and founder of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party.

“It is time to change our destiny and think big.”

Khan told a boisterous crowd of about 100,000 people that Pakistan was “heading towards destruction” but his plan would help forge a fairer society and steer Pakistan towards a path first envisaged by the nation’s father, Muhammad Ali Jinnah.

Khan said that if elected he would build schools and “world class hospitals” across the country, while farmers would get cheap loans. He also pledged to build 5 million homes for the poor, which would create jobs and stimulate the economy.

After spending much of his post-cricket political career on the fringes, Khan has in recent years emerged as a key challenger to Sharif, a three-time prime minister who was ousted by the Supreme Court last year but whose party retains power.

Sharif’s legal woes, which the veteran leader says are politically motivated, could further boost Khan in the run up to the elections as an anti-corruption court is due to soon deliver a verdict on another Sharif trial. Khan has predicted Sharif will be jailed before the polls, likely in July.

Khan, who has sought to shed his playboy image of the past, is betting that his anti-corruption message, coupled with anti-America rhetoric and a projecting image of pious devotion, will propel him into power in the deeply conservative Muslim nation of 208 million people.

In Lahore, Khan’s message resonated with many of the bandana-wearing young men waving PTI’s green and red-color flags.

“Imran Khan has given us the slogan of ‘New Pakistan’ and that’s what we want,” said Shahzad Khan, 17, in reference to the “Naya Pakistan” slogan used by PTI.

Sharif has accused Khan of being a puppet of the powerful military establishment that has a history of meddling in Pakistani politics. Khan denies colluding with the army and the military denies interfering in modern-day politics.

Sharif was the chief minister of Punjab in the 1980s and his younger brother Shahbaz has ruled the province since 2008, entrenching PML-N’s support across the wealthiest of Pakistan’s four provinces.

“We feel they are weakening with every day,” Khan told foreign journalist ahead of the rally.

He added that unlike in 2013, when PML-N swept to power, this time around many of the so-called “electables” - politicians who carry large rural vote banks due to their status as tribal elders, feudal lords and heads of various clans - will switch allegiances away from PML-N to PTI.

“The electables...weigh things up, they want to be on the winning side,” Khan told foreign media.

But at the Lahore rally, Khan shunned talk of electables and focused on promising a new dawn for Pakistan’s poor.

“This system cannot run unless we stand up with the downtrodden,” he said. “I am standing with you, it is time of make new Pakistan.”

Riaz Haq said...

Blow after blow dims re-election hopes of Pakistan's ruling party
Drazen Jorgic

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Reeling from clashes with the judiciary and hobbled by media restrictions linked to the powerful military, Pakistan’s ruling party’s once-wide path to retaining power is narrowing ahead of a general election this summer.

In the past year, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party has seen a prime minister - its founder Nawaz Sharif - and foreign minister both ousted by the courts, while its finance minister, charged with corruption, fled the country. On Sunday, a gunman shot and wounded its interior minister. [LINK]

All of this comes before another court ruling due next month that could send Sharif to jail for 14 years over a corruption case he says is a “conspiracy” against him.

An alleged religious extremist has been arrested over the gun attack on Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal.

That appears unrelated to PML-N’s wider problems with the military and judiciary - both of whom deny pursuing a political agenda. But the assassination attempt adds to a growing list of woes afflicting a party that less than a year ago was deemed a shoo-in for another five-year term.

Such a series of body blows suggests the PML-N is unlikely to repeat its success at the 2013 election, which left it with a majority in the national assembly, with most analysts predicting a hung parliament that will usher in a coalition government.

“All these other issues that are thrown up just distract the party from doing what it needs to do in an election,” said Huma Yusuf, a columnist and Wilson Center Global Fellow. “It makes it an unequal playing field.”

PML-N’s main challenge is expected to come from the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, led by cricket hero-turned-politician Imran Khan, who has promised a radical change for the poor if he is elected as premier.


Despite the series of setbacks, Sharif is still drawing sizeable crowds at rallies, and a nationwide poll conducted in March by Gallup Pakistan showed PML-N had a 12 point lead over PTI.

The party’s fate will be largely decided by how it performs in the vast Punjab province, long a PML-N stronghold that returns 143 of the 272 directly contested seats in the National Assembly.

Mushahid Hussain Sayed, a PML-N senator who is on the campaign trail with Sharif and Shehbaz, said PML-N’s message was resonating with voters who see signs of economic progress in infrastructure projects, from six-lane highways and bus transport systems to power stations, including vast projects funded by Beijing as part of China’s Belt and Road intuitive.

PML-N also boasts a well-oiled electoral machine built over many decades in Punjab, where Sharif was chief minister in the 1980s and where in the same role Shehbaz has built a strong reputation as a competent administrator since 2008.

But PTI leader Khan, whose stock has risen since Sharif’s ouster, believes the path to victory in Punjab will be through so-called “electables”, wealthy and largely fickle politicians who carry large rural vote banks due to their status as feudal lords, tribal chieftains and heads of various clans.

At least seven lawmakers in southern Punjab have switched allegiance away from PML-N to PTI this week, and Khan has forecast a flood of defections once the electables see PML-N is unlikely to be on the winning side.

“The PML-N grip is breaking as we speak,” Khan said.