Pakistan's cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan has clearly been muddying the political waters in his country. His belief that the last general election which brought Nawaz Sharif and his Muslim League to power was rigged flies in the face of reality. Khan has demanded the resignation of the prime minister and fresh elections. He says he will not negotiate with the government until Sharif resigns. By doing so, he is only pushing Pakistan, where democracy has largely been a tenuous affair since the creation of the country in 1947, into newer dangers. Mr. Sharif has done well by refusing to give in to Khan's demands, given that the last election was fair by any standard and, except for Imran Khan, no one has complained about the results.
There is a certain incongruity about Imran Khan's politics as he goes on with his demagoguery. He has seemingly allied himself with the fanatical, foreign-based cleric Tahirul Qadri in his campaign to unseat Nawaz Sharif. Qadri's politics leaves few people in any doubt about his intentions. His rabble-rousing is aimed at creating a radical political system in Pakistan, an approach that does not bode well for the future of a country already under assault from diverse Islamist elements. For his part, the western-educated Imran Khan appears to have little clue about where he wishes to take politics. Mr. Khan has been crying hoarse in the past few days without offering any vision for Pakistanis.
Pakistan's fragile democracy needs to be saved from demagogues like Imran Khan and Tahirul Qadri. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif must stand tough. Every institution in Pakistan, especially the army, must ensure that nothing of an extra-constitutional nature happens again.