Pakistan Movement for Justice vows to 'change Pakistan'

A prominent leader of Pakistan's Movement for Justice, a potential third force in the country's politics, says his party will "change Pakistan" and make the country corruption-free if it comes to power in next week's general election.

"Change has already arrived. Our party has already won the hearts and minds of the people. What remains is winning the elections," Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (Pakistan Movement for Justice) President Javed Hashmi said in a recent interview with Kyodo News at an election office in Islamabad.

Political analysts see the PTI, founded by sports hero Imran Khan in 1996, as a potential third force in the country's politics, which has traditionally been dominated by the Pakistan People's Party of slain Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and the Pakistan Muslim League led by former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

Khan, former Pakistani cricket captain and philanthropist, has accused the leaderships of the PPP and PML of being dynastic and undemocratic.

The PPP and PML have been dominated by the Bhutto family and the Sharif family, respectively, since they were founded.

Pakistan's political and economic woes are unfathomable and their solution in 90 days, as the PTI has promised, is more easily said than done.

Corruption is rampant, law and order has broken down, attacks by suicide bombers and with improvised explosive devices are almost a daily occurrence, and the economy is reeling.

"We will bring change from the bottom. We have everything for the people of Pakistan," Hashmi said.

Hashmi said the PTI has awarded 80 percent of its party tickets to newcomers, with political old guards like him receiving only 20 percent of the tickets.

Moreover, he said, the party itself held intra-party elections just before entering the battle for the upcoming national poll.

"This itself is a big change because every party awards tickets to prominent people who have a bigger chance of success," Hashmi said.

The PTI has promised a uniform education system for Pakistan, massive reforms of the police and the court system, and ending dependence on foreign aid.

Another important plank of the party manifesto is massive investment in coal-fired power plants to cut oil imports that have fueled budget deficits.

The party has also promised to hold local elections in 90 days and the delivery of health and other services at the doorstep.

Asked if democracy was gaining strength in Pakistan, Hashmi said even the Pakistan army has realized that democracy provides the solution for Pakistan's ills.

Formerly a leader in the PML (N), Hashmi joined the PTI in December 2011 and later became party president and second-in-command.