By Agha Iqrar Haroon
Once considered an “Unreal”, the tournament has proven to be a “Real Tournament” and it has entered into its final stage — the Head Shot Stage.
When I used to play “The Unreal Tournament” almost 20 years ago, I learned that in Headshot Stage, whosoever will winkle eyes, shall be dead instantly. This stage is not the nerve game but the speed and the skill. Sitting like a dove invites a straight bullet into the skull.
PTI through its powerful social and electronic media teams is now indicating the resignation of the Chief of the Pakistan Army can avert a dangerous situation where Imran Khan can lead the country.
Imran Khan is pushing every institution for fixing everything he desires before August 2022 so he can return to power and announces the new COAS. Desperate to remove everything and install himself, he has gone to an extent that nobody who nurtured him could ever imagine. Once state-funded Vloggers, bloggers, paratrooper anchors, and hybrid Op-ed writers who were placed to abuse parliament, the politicians, the constitution, and the working journalists have forgotten their original terms of reference and now they are only targeting state institutions.
I believe that Imran Khan will keep putting pressure by taking a chance that someone within the ranks and files of the Pakistan Army would decide that sending one-person home can save the army from the wrath of Imran Khan it is facing today. This is what Imran Khan wants since he was voted out from his seat. Nobody could imagine that a politician would arrive in Pakistan who would confidently try to divide Pakistan Army and even then he will not be tagged as a traitor. This is a dangerous game and this can set a precedent that anyone can have a brigade of social media trollers, followers in mainstream media, and a couple of thousands of workers and he or she can change the leadership of the Pakistan Army.
Chaitanya Kayandepatil in an academic paper titled “Trolling and Hate Content on Social Media Platforms” indicates that amount of users on social media platforms has increased manifold in the last few years and especially among teenage groups (age group 13-19) and people who are on verge of retirement/already retired or are in their later part of life (age group 50+). Retired civil and military officials rightly fall in the second category that Chaitanya Kayandepatil has indicated. The paper indicates that hate content and other harmful content seems entertaining for the majority and they save it and forward it to their various social circles. Some choose to ignore it, while those who get offended indulge in the notorious conversation(s) and thus a chain of replies begins. It can be entertaining or abusive depending upon the content, who initiated it, and who the targets are. Mostly, from a neutral perspective, it is suspicious, abusive, or harmful.
Sociologists and social media experts believe that content looks more entertaining when it is a kind of storytelling. Here one can review the style of narration Imran Khan does. He explains events in a kind of storytelling like “a letter comes, then this happens, then that happens—so on and so forth. His narrative has everything of good storytelling— personal enmity, the greater good, love for motherland, sacrifice, conspiracy, fight between good and bad, just cause and greedy people, etc. Simone Natalie in her study of storytelling and the narratives in her article “Unveiling the Biographies of Media: On the Role of Narratives, Anecdotes, and Storytelling in the Construction of New Media’s Histories” cites the theory of storytelling given by Walter Benjamin how storytelling creates a more open narrative that sticks in the memory of the reader and integrates with the reader’s own experiences.
Natalie believes that standardized tales cater to readers’ interests for narration and remaining in their memories is the best way to influence the human mind. Here we see that Imran Khan gives standardized tales of the army’s involvement and alleged manipulation during Gen Ziaul Haq and Musharraf eras and these old stories facilitate the human mind to accept that previous events are being now repeated again. Meanwhile, his slur brigade is constantly abusing state institutions and virtually pushing them to the wall so they cannot be in a position to take any action whatsoever against Imran Khan or his team. He looks successful in this strategy because no action has ever been taken against anybody on his team so far though all of them are openly abusing and accusing state institutions. Now he has successfully entered into a phase where he is demanding the resignation of the Chief of Army through his social media and mainstream media teams and faceless social media soldiers.
Using highly skilled methodologies of Aristotelian Communication theory based on using inductive and deductive logic and by using Peirce’s notion of abductive reasoning, Imran Khan is getting results of what he wishes to induce in human minds with a specific target of marginalizing state institutions. I believe that no time is left to understand or dissection what communication theories Imran Khan had been using and who had designed his media campaign, the reality is that he has put all institutions in defensive mode, providing him further ground to play as he wishes to.
Though we are already going through the worst of its own kind more can arrive if state institutions would bow down to his pressure and would accept his demands for change in leadership of the Pakistan army, announce early elections, and install a new chief of his desires and so on so forth.
Do we know what is in Khan’s mind and what he would do next if he ever successfully replaces the Army leadership and comes into power again? Will, he would not go for disbanding the system that according to him is US-driven and has been compromising the sovereignty of Pakistan? Inspired by the Ottoman Empire, would he not go for an Army that would operate without fixed rules and regulations and where the tenure of Army Chief would be as wished by the political king—Imran Khan. I believe that Imran Khan believes he has grown up now and cannot sit like a Prince and he has a right to replace the King (here King means a laid down administrative system). The simplest way for Imran Khan for becoming the King is by introducing a Presidential form of government (that he had planned to announce but was voted out before he could initiate it) by abrogating the constitution, disbanding parliament, and going for a Referendum in which he would be elected as new President with powers to design new system according to his wishes.
Should we let him go for this?
The views and opinions expressed in this article/Opinion/Comment are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the DND Thought Center and Dispatch News Desk (DND). Assumptions made within the analysis are not reflective of the position of the DND Thought Center and Dispatch News Desk News Agency.