By Agha Iqrar Haroon
Islamabad, Pakistan: Former Prime Minister Imran Khan has claimed that the gap between the State and the Nation is increasing and this situation is a repeat of what happened in East Pakistan. Somehow or other, his viewpoint has weight.
When anybody reads books written on the fall of Dhaka, one can understand that common citizens of former East Pakistan were disgruntled not only over economic conditions rather the state of affairs of justice, and Bengalis thought they were denied the same status in administrative as well as judicial system that a common citizen of former West Pakistan was enjoying. The same feelings are sipping down today and the majority of Pakistanis believe that Imran Khan and his party leaders are enjoying the greatest respect and leniency from State institutions that have never been enjoyed by any political leader and any political party in the entire history of Pakistan.
This situation is practically creating a divide between the common man and the State and the public has every right to ask several questions; one such question is why Drive-thru bail operations have been introduced for Imran Khan while a normal Pakistani has to face bail rejection if he or she is half an hour late to enter the courtroom? He has also been enjoying bail without submitting himself to courts and can enjoy court hearings while sitting at his residence. Are these facilities not creating a feeling among people that there are two kinds of justice system— one for Imran Khan and one for a common citizen?
PTI slur brigade has been targeting military and law enforcement agencies by abusing them with unimaginable diction but no such action has ever taken place against Imran Khan or his party leaders and workers. Imran Khan since he was voted out from PM Office has been using such language against state institutions like parliament and the military. He had been calling military leadership Janwar (animals), Mir Jaffar (a symbolic diction used in the sub-continent for treachery and for traitors), dirty Harry (a diction used by Khan for a serving Maj. General), and country sellers (Khan used for military and politicians). However, he also got the benefit of the doubt from the courts of law as well as from the administration of the State.
The majority of senior bureaucrats, politicians, and even journalists are of the view that they had never seen a court could grant seven interim bails in one go as it was done with Imran Khan on March 27, 2023. Such events are creating a bay between a common citizen and the state because a normal Pakistani is unable to understand how could a person enjoy such privileged treatment from the administration as well as from the judiciary that another person could not even imagine in the wildest dreams. Even senior journalists who cover courts claim that judicial officials give extraordinary treatment to PTI and its leadership which is unprecedented. The latest example can be the observations the honorable judges of the Supreme Court gave by ordering political parties to approach Imran Khan and resolve issues with him to avoid serious circumstances (maybe proceedings of contempt of court). We remember how gracefully and fortunately Imran Khan skipped contempt of court proceedings but everybody is sure that fortunate would not be granted to other politicians if SC would start contempt of court proceedings as two former prime ministers had already been sent home as disqualified by the SC in the last 10 years.
His luck is not strong only in courts but in cases handled by the administrative structure of the state also. Just imagine the State took no action against his former federal ministers who had been sending letters to the United Nations to take action against the State of Pakistan and to IMF for not releasing the payment to Pakistan that is still in economic ICU. Everybody is asking the question why does the state behave so politely with PTI leadership?
Leaked audio tapes of former federal minister Shaukat Tarin allegedly discussing means to withdraw commitments of the provincial governments of Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa from the federal government’s bailout program with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) exposed PTI’s bid to push the country into an economic crisis. In the first audio leak, PTI Senator Shaukat Tarin allegedly asks Punjab Finance Minister Mohsin Leghari to withdraw his government’s support from the IMF deal, maintaining the situation arising from the 2022 floods could be used as a pretext to no longer honor the agreement. Directing the Punjab finance minister, also a member of the PTI, to draft the letter and send it to him for final approval before sending it to the federal government, Tarin said in an audio tape that the PTI also planned to send such letter to the IMF representative in Pakistan to further damage efforts to revive the much-needed bailout program. The second leaked phone call was between Tarin and the then KPK Finance Minister Taimur Jhagra, in which Tarin was directing the Jhagra if he has (had) written the letter withdrawing his provincial government’s commitment from the IMF deal. “I have a previous letter. I will send it to you after drafting it,” Jhagra informs Tarin, who directs him to ensure he highlights the devastation caused by floods as the “primary reason” for reneging on his earlier commitment.
Compromising state interests and gaining domestic political mileage by risking international relations has been an ingredient of PTI politics. We have seen how PTI meddled with Pak-China relations in reference to the CPEC project when it was in power and how it played havoc with US-Pak relations when it was voted out from the government. Sending two letters to the UN against Pakistan written by PTI former Federal Minister Dr. Shireen Mazari for penalizing Pakistan for alleged Human Rights violations was another attempt of PTI to harm the state of Pakistan but no action was taken ever against her or her party leader Imran Khan. She wrote twice to the UN to take against Pakistan, first in May 2022 and second in March 2023. Why PTI leadership is beyond the law of land is the question every Pakistani is asking and this situation is creating a bay between the common man and the state as it was done in former East Pakistan.
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.