The success of the Aam Admi Party (AAP) in India, which has seen it capture the Delhi state government, has inspired many politicians, and in Pakistan, there is perhaps the greatest admiration to be found within the Pakistan Tehrik Insaf (PTI) of Imran Khan. Mr Khan expressed this in an interview to an Indian newspaper. The similarities of the PTI and the AAP are too many to be missed. Both are parties from outside the normal political spectrum, with support bases of urban youth and the middle class. And both have won a provincial government each. However, while the AAP thus won control of only one among 35 (28 states and seven union territories), the PTI won the Kyber-Pakhtunkhwa provincial government, one of four. While the AAP will seek representation in the Indian Parliament in the election due this year, the PTI has already gone through three national elections, trying its luck in 2003, boycotting in 2008 and emerging in 2013 as the third largest party in Parliament, and actually capturing the Leadership of the Opposition in the Punjab.

Both parties are challenging the existing political forces, and are actually a vote of no confidence in their ability to express the wishes of the masses. In both countries, the political parties which presently dominate, because they appear most able to win elections, have apparently not got enough steam, with the result that sections of the electorate are seeking platforms to express their aspirations.

This should give pause, because in India, one of the main parties against which the AAP is a reaction, the BJP, is actually part of the Janata Party, itself the 1977 version of the AAP which rebelled against the corruption of the Congress Party. Congress is the ruling party at present, and was inclined towards socialism and state intervention in the economy. While the PML is the rough Pakistani equivalent of the BJP in being opposed to the state commanding the heights of the economy, it is also the party that led Pakistan to Independence, indeed conceived of its existence. The PPP shares the inclination to state intervention with Congress.

However, as the PML and the PPP demonstrate, while there may be some similarities between Pakistani and Indian politics, they must not be drawn too far. Mr Khan should not read too much into AAP success. As his experience in KP must be showing, even parties which campaign on an anti-corruption platform, are subject to temptations, especially parties new to the minefield they have entered.