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Pakistan’s foremost political family fights for survival

Imran Khan's strident rhetoric delights those who want to keep Pakistan on a permanent war footing and thereby preserve military budgets. (The Economist is on sale in Pakistan)

AT A pre-election rally, a procession of cars and pick-up trucks squeezed through the narrow streets of Lahore. The crowd sweated, cheered, trod on each other’s feet and rained rose petals on the parade. All that was missing was the candidate. Kulsoom Nawaz Sharif, the former first lady of Pakistan, was in London undergoing cancer treatment. She did not campaign at all, leaving that job to her more charismatic daughter, Maryam Nawaz

Every year Pakistan spend a huge amount on war-mongering, denying fair share to education for poor.


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She won anyway, but in a manner that augurs yet more political turmoil for her country. Her husband, Nawaz Sharif, was Pakistan’s prime minister until July, when the Supreme Court sacked him—hence the by-election for his parliamentary seat on September 17th. Mr Sharif’s supporters dismiss the ruling as politically motivated. (He was banned from office for failing to declare a salary to which he was entitled as a director of a family firm.).



Mr Sharif hoped that voters would elect his wife to his old seat by a huge margin, thus repudiating the Supreme Court’s verdict. She won, but by a much smaller margin than Mr Sharif had managed in 2013. For Pakistan’s most prominent political family, on its home turf, in a province governed by Mr Sharif’s brother, that is a bad omen, less than a year before the next national elections. (Read full content Subscribe to the Economist magazine)

September 25, 2017

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