Pakistan after the riots by supporters of Imran Khan

NFollowing the violent unrest in early May, it looked as if Pakistan would not calm down anytime soon. Some observers even thought a civil war was possible. Anger erupted across the country after the arrest of former cricket star-turned-politician Imran Khan on May 9. Those in power appeared to be in a quandary: the end of the mandate of parliament and government in the summer must be followed by elections – and Khan’s chances of winning them were growing. But a Khan’s victory – that much was clear – would be prevented by the army with all its might. But at the same time, every show of force by the establishment only seemed to attract more supporters. The momentum was apparently on his side.

Hardly anyone would have bet that there would be elections really soon. But on Thursday Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif announced on television that he would transfer official duties to an interim government in August. He did not give an exact date for the election, but it is clear that under these circumstances it will take place in November at the latest. Now there are some indications that the hybrid regime of the nuclear power Pakistan is getting back to its usual course, in which an elected government runs the official business while the generals keep the important levers in their hands in the background.

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