Nawaz Sharif Keeps Sweeping Polls Without ‘Moral Authority’


Pakistani premier Nawaz Sharif has again forced political nemesis Imran Khan, chief of Pakistan’s Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) party, to eat humble pie after the candidate fielded by his Pakistan Muslim League faction (PML-N) pulled off a stunning by-poll upset deep inside enemy territory.Arbab Waseem, the PML-N candidate for Peshawar’s PK-8 provincial assembly seat cruised to a surprisingly easy win over PTI rival Shehzad Khan on May 12. Shehzad was backed by the ruling party alliance in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province comprising PTI, Jamaat-e-Islami and Qaumi Watan Party. The PML-N had similarly triumphedin a Balochistan national assembly by-poll two weeks earlier.These victories put paid to the notional argument parroted by Sharif’s opponents that the Panama Papers had eroded his “moral authority.” Voters raised on the teats of plutocracy also reminded Khan that he who rules Punjab, rules Pakistan, and that stump sermons on western morality, however impressive, had no practical value in a country where keeping your local influential happy was paramount to getting things done.

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