By Agha Iqrar Haroon
As expected Prime Minister Imran Khan in his Parade Ground public meeting on March 27 claimed that an international conspiracy has been hatched to replace him.
He further claimed that he is facing the same situation former Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto faced in 1977 because Bhutto also wanted a sovereign foreign policy and that was the reason he was removed and then hanged. Khan said he is also trying to live honorably and cannot take dictation from foreign countries and he accused former rulers to bow down against western powers. He said that Bhutto was the victim of dreams he had for a sovereign Pakistan and now he (Khan) could become a victim of the same dream.
PM Khan has been building up this narrative for a long that western powers decided to replace him because he refused to follow their instructions on more than one occasion and the latest was a neutral stance over Ukraine-Russian contra. His narrative has cost heavily to Pakistan at diplomatic levels but surely helped him at the domestic level and would continue to help in the future also.
There are two similarities between the speech of late Bhutto he delivered in Raja Bazaar Rawalpindi and showed a piece of letter to people and said that this is (was) a threat letter from the United States and a conspiracy had been hatched to replace him, giving the theory of Regime Change the first time in the history of Pakistan. This was the time when western powers wanted a pro-religious rule in Pakistan to create a narrative of Jihad to launch a war over the then Soviet Union. Late General Ziaul Haq came on the scene, arrested Bhutto, and then Mujaheddin were created. Bhutto was thereafter hanged till death under murder charges. The then opposition called the letter Bhutto waved in Raja Bazaar as a bluff to save him from the PNA movement and claimed that this letter was a piece of trash.
Now PM Imran Khan has waved a piece of paper to his followers, calling him a threat letter Pakistan had received from western country/ countries. He claimed that foreign powers are using opposition to replace him in the same way Bhutto was removed. Opposition can call this piece of paper a bluff Khan is using to save him from Vote of No Confidence Motion. PM Khan said that he cannot share this letter with people publically due to its diplomatic sensitivity while Bhutto reproduced the content of that alleged letter in his letters he wrote from jail where he had been waiting for his hanging. I believe that if Khan’s piece of paper is a bluff, then it can cost him very heavily because he has created a web of allegations and his “could be rescuers” can feel that he had accused them without any reason without providing reasonable pieces of evidence.
One can say that PM Khan’s speech was remaking of 1977s speech of Bhutto but I think here is a twist. Bhutto was replaced by Pakistan Army who clamped 11 yearlong Martial Law in the country. Bhutto’s book “if I am assassinated” claimed that foreign powers hatched a conspiracy against him with the help of the Pakistan Army but I think that PM Khan does not want to blame anybody except the opposition for the latest conspiracy.
Moreover, Khan’s speech is an excellent Flip-Flop. He has claimed that conspiracy has been hatched against him to destabilize Pakistan by foreign enemies. After his speech, the social media trends demanded that since the opposition is working for foreign masters so it is now the official and moral duty of the Establishment to take action against the opposition by setting aside its policy of neutrality. On the other hand, one can say that Khan has indirectly blamed the Establishment to be a part of a foreign conspiracy against him if we refer to the book of late Bhutto who claimed that the Pakistan Army was part of a foreign conspiracy against him. One can also say that PM Khan’s speech can be very useful and can compel the Establishment to come forward and take action against the opposition for hatching conspiracy against the government. This situation can help PM Khan to come out of a dark lane of political fate where he has entered and has already lost the majority in the National Assembly.
While assessing the political realities of Pakistan one should keep in mind that PM Khan has a charged mob with him and his tongue is not only sharp rather impolite while his supporters religiously follow him. His style of address is powerful and he can accuse anybody of anything and then it is up to the accused person/institution to provide its/her/him innocence. Taunting anybody, accusing people of anything, and using derogatory language is now an integral part of Pakistani politics and the most lethal weapon is social media brigades manned by political parties. The most effective and maybe biggest social media brigade is managed by PTI. Anybody whosoever dares to ask anything or question PTI performance can face the wrath of this brigade.
While reporting Pakistani politics since 1988, I can tell almost every political leader sought and got power from the Establishment of their eras but then, unfortunately, became lethal for and the prime example could be former Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif who was the product of the then Establishment but had several head-on collisions with Establishment by forgetting favors he got in the form of formation of Islami Jamhoori Ittihad (IJI) for placing him into corridors of power. Mian Nawaz Sharif had been on the same page with the Establishment as PM Khan has been. I wish both—the Establishment and PM Khan should stand on the same page in the future also because one more Mian Nawaz Sharif may not be in favor of many in the country.
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.