Pakistan goes to polls on July 25: Here's why India should care

Supporters of Imran Khan during a campaign last week

Supporters of Imran Khan during a campaign last week

Pakistan's flamboyant cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan on Sunday received support from former cricketers, including Pakistani stars, in his bid to capture political power in the July 25 polls.

Officials say Ikramullah Gandapur, a local candidate from Imran Khan's party, and his driver were killed by a suicide bomber in the northern city of Dera Ismail Khan, three days before the country's general election.

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Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) is still the major contender in these elections, despite its leader and ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif being put behind bars on corruption charges.

The attack in the northwestern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa follows a series of bombings at political rallies before the election, the most devastating of which was a suicide attack this month that killed 149 people in the southwestern province of Balochistan.

Responding to the MML contesting Pakistan general elections, the U.S. state department recently said, "We have repeatedly expressed our concerns to the Pakistani government about LeT, including the participation of LeT-affiliated individuals in the elections".

Gandapur, who was a PTI nominee for PK-99, was on his to a political convention when his vehicle was targetted in Kulachi tehsil of DI Khan.

He was elected through a by-election on the Dera Ismail Khan PK-67 seat, after it was vacated following the death of his brother Law Minister Israrulah Gandapur in a suicide attack.

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On Saturday a Pakistani anti-narcotics court jailed for life Hanif Abbasi, an aide of Sharif, for misuse of a drug-making chemical, a government prosecutor said.

The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), led by Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, is also expected to pick up seats across the country, as is the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA), an alliance of right-wing religious parties.

Khan, however, has repeatedly denied claims that he is linked to, or supported by the military.

"ISI is fully involved in manipulating judicial process".

Hitting out at Imran Khan, who as per opinion polls are said to be leading the race, Sharif said that all the allegations levelled by the PTI chief against the Punjab government were proved wrong.

Why India should care Ties with India are probably one of the more important issues plaguing Pakistan ahead of the polls, and is the most complex part of each of the two countries' foreign policy.

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