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Imran: From cricket hero to political leader
by Staff Writers
Islamabad (AFP) May 12, 2013

Egypt military chief rules out move in politics
Cairo (AFP) May 11, 2013 - Egypt's military chief on Saturday ruled out intervention in the country's polarised politics after the army handed power to Islamist President Mohamed Morsi last year, state media reported.

General Abdel Fatah al-Sissi, who is also defence minister, called for the country's divided factions to adopt "a formula for an understanding," warning the alternative could be "extremely dangerous."

Some of Morsi's critics have called on the army to intervene against the country's first Islamist and civilian president after months of unrest in which dozens of protesters have been killed.

But Sissi, a former military intelligence chief who Morsi appointed to head the army in August, said the elections were the only option.

"No one should think the solution is through the army; you must not be angered, and standing in a queue for 10 or 15 minutes is better than destroying the country," the official Ahram newspaper quoted him as saying on its website.

Morsi last month closed ranks with the military in a press conference amid rumours of tensions between the presidency and the army, and after leaks of a state commissioned report implicating the army in human rights abuses.

The military had ruled Egypt after an uprising overthrew president Hosni Mubarak in early 2011, then handed power to Morsi after his election last June.

Morsi took office with his powers circumscribed by the military, then led by Mubarak's former defence minister Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi.

He sacked Tantawi after an August militant attack killed 16 soldiers at a border post, seizing on discontent within the military to purge commanders whose loyalties were in doubt, an aide said at the time.

Imran Khan, Pakistan's cricket hero, made an incredible breakthrough at the polls with his enormous popularity inspiring one of the highest voter turnouts in history.

Loved by millions across the cricket-obsessed nation for winning Pakistan its only World Cup in 1992, the 60-year-old has sporting prowess, rugged good looks and international celebrity in a country lacking glamour.

He may not have achieved his dream, in which a "tsunami" of support would win him the premiership, but his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) looks set to form a government in the northwestern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

He electrified the campaign, addressing enormous crowds and galvanising young voters and an urban middle class fed up with the same old politicians who have ruled for decades on the back of family wealth.

When he plunged off a lift cranking him up to the stage at a rally and fractured his spine in the final days of campaigning, his bedside television addresses were feted as some of the finest Pakistani political oratory in years.

To his detractors, he is a dangerous appeaser of the Taliban, a Muslim conservative weak on women's rights and a naive figure who doesn't understand that America's war against Islamic extremists is also Pakistan's war.

For a party only founded in 1996 and which only ever won one seat, in 2002, the election result is an incredible achievement that will test its governing ability on the frontline of Pakistan's war against the Taliban.

"God will not take me from this world until a new Pakistan is built," he told supporters by video-link from his hospital bed on the last day of campaigning.

Tugging at their heart strings, he spoke about his Muslim faith, the personal sacrifices he has made and his mantra for reform.

"God has given you this golden opportunity. Don't let it go. You should give change a chance," he said from the hospital he founded for the poor.

Khan's campaign slogan was Naya Pakistan -- New Pakistan.

The message was simple -- the parties that have governed for the past two decades have failed and it is time to try something else, time to pay tax, end corruption, fix the power crisis and stand up to America.

His vocal opposition to US drone strikes targeting the Taliban and Al-Qaeda also struck a chord with a deeply anti-American populace.

His face is plastered all over billboards, TV adverts and his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) party ran a strong Internet campaign with a stylish website, securing @ImranKhanPTI more than half a million followers on Twitter.

Born on November 25, 1952 in Lahore into a comfortable family with origins in the Pashtun northwest, Khan was educated at Aitchison College, the Eton of Pakistan, boarding school in England, and then Oxford University.

He became one of the world's greatest ever all-rounders -- a fearsome fast bowler and dangerous batsman -- whose finest hour came at the 1992 World Cup, where at the age of 39 he led an inexperienced team to the title.

Off the pitch, he had a string of socialite girlfriends and frequented exclusive nightclubs in London until he married Jemima Goldsmith, the daughter of the French-British tycoon James, in 1995.

She converted to Islam and the couple moved in with his family in Lahore.

They had two sons but divorced in 2004, allegedly over the difficulties Jemima faced in Pakistan, where she was hounded for her family's Jewish ancestry and his obsession with politics.

He is also feted for his philanthropy. He founded the best cancer hospital in the country, which provides free care to the poor, and set up a college that awards British university degrees in Mianwali, his family's home town.

His rival Nawaz Sharif cautioned Khan on the campaign trail that politics is more than a game. Khan will now be batting for his life, most likely in opposition at the national level but grappling with power in the northwest.


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Malaysia's election results stand firm
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (UPI) May 10, 2013
Malaysia's election results will stand despite protests that sent thousands of Malaysians onto the streets and filled a soccer stadium. Prime Minister Najib Razak's governing Barisan Nasional - National Front - party won 133 of the 222 seats in Parliament but the result was quickly decried by opposition leaders. It was the National Front's 13th consecutive general election vict ... read more

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