Pakistan does not have a tradition of political parties that survive for long on the basis of their ideas. Every few years a new political party, mostly on the right, emerges with encouragement from the permanent establishment, dominated by the military. A revolving set of turncoats and some new defectors from other parties promptly join this new king’s party. It is then fiercely pitched against the party with the largest vote bank at that particular juncture.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) came to power in 2013 with the largest share of votes. The cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan and his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party seem to be playing the part of the king’s party, trying to unseat Sharif by using the Panama Papers’ revelations of graft and money laundering against Sharif and his family. A subsequent court-ordered probe, which included investigators from Pakistan’s all-powerful intelligence agencies, has delivered a scathing