By Agha Iqrar Haroon
When I was writing that former Prime Minister Imran Khan is confident that no administrative action could take place against him because children and families of retired and serving civil and military bureaucracy are standing with him, many of my friends claim Imran Khan is using such statements for political gains. However, circumstances always confirm his confidence is not unfounded.
Today the first killing of a police constable in reference to the Azadi March of Imran Khan was allegedly committed by an ex-serviceman Maj (retd) Sajjad Hussain Bokhari and his son Akrama Bokhari in Model Town Lahore. Police constable came with the raiding party outside the residence of the accused as police are rounding up PTI active and aggressive members. Both accused allegedly opened direct fire toward the police raiding party standing outside the gate of the accused and one bullet pierced the heart of the Shaheed constable.
When the accused were arrested by police, they were chanting slogans that they are (were) fighting for the sovereignty of the country and Akrama was having PTI flag around his neck. According to them, they are soldiers and freedom fighters.
Imran Khan who is arriving in Islamabad from Peshawar along with KPK police and administration had woven his narrative carefully. He says he is waging a religious war against evils and his war is also freedom fighting for real independence of Pakistan. This is all he claims and his followers believe.
Multiparty government has decided to stop Azadi March towards Islamabad as PTI leaders including Imran Khan are saying that life and death no matter they will remove the sitting government and they are saying averting bloodshed will be the responsibility of army and the sitting government.
Their statements categorically indicate that they want to get their results even through violence. Imran Khan day before yesterday asked Pakistan Army to stay neutral and today he said there is no proposition of being neutral for anybody and stated that neutral means you are supporting anti-Pakistan forces.
Today he has again placed the Pakistan army as a part of anti-Pakistan forces as he had been saying that the army was directly or indirectly involved in a conspiracy against his government that according to him was actually a conspiracy against the state of Pakistan. All intelligence agencies had denied several times that no conspiracy was hatched against his government or the state of Pakistan by the United States but he has sold his narrative perfectly though costing a far-reaching impact on Pakistan’s foreign relations with European Union and the United States.
PTI leaders Fawad Ch and former federal minister Sheikh Rasheed have been threatening that Pakistan (God forbids) will face a civil war-like situation if the multiparty government will try to use administrative power to stop Islamabad March.
Former Minister of Information Fawad Ch, former Minister for Interior Sheikh Rasheed, and many more PTI leaders are not shy to threaten the State with awful consequences if any administrative action is taken against PTI leadership. Since the multiparty government has decided to take administrative action to stop Imran Khan to reach Islamabad, the situation looks serious though Supreme Court can ask the government to allow PTI leadership to reach Srinagar Highway.
Imran Khan went to Peshawar after holding the last public meeting of his campaign that was in Multan. Since then he is residing in Peshawar which is his safe camp and symbolically related to the power grid he takes advantage of. Peshawar is the provincial capital of KPK province where PTI has a provincial government. Imran Khan is also using the helicopter of Chief Minister KPK for his commuting to public meetings and otherwise. KPK Provincial administration is at the disposal of PTI leadership and Imran Khan and his rally towards Islamabad would move under the protection of KPK police and civil administration.
The most serious and dangerous dimension of the entire situation is that KPK police can engage with capital police and Punjab police physically, giving an angle of province versus Center (Federation) contra. Another sensitive issue is that PTI has already campaigned that if ever Civil War starts in Pakistan, the military would be responsible.
This is the first time that any political party is talking so casually about creating a civil war-like situation in the country and blaming the Pakistan Army so casually for damaging the state of Pakistan. According to my understanding, PTI wants to build a dangerous burden on Pakistan Army by June 2022 so it forgets its apolitical stand and comes forward to remove the multiparty government or compel the multiparty government to announce fresh elections.
If we remember the 2014 Dharna (sit-in) that continued for over 124 days, we recollect that Imran Khan had several factors in his favor including his school-time friend the then Interior Minister Ch Nisar, the then Governor Panjab Ch Sarwar, and many faceless power brokers. Ch Nisar and Ch Sarwar gave guarantees that Imran Khan would not reach D-Chowk and would not cross Abpara but he did swiftly and nobody stopped him. Yes, this time Imran Khan can get legal support under the constitutional provision of freedom of political activities and I believe Supreme Court would allow him to reach Islamabad but who would guarantee that he would not a cross specific place he is mentioning for his possible sit-in? Will he not move ahead towards Parliament House and would not pitch a tent village and laundry house outside Supreme Court? Hearing of petition of PTI seeking permission for Islamabad March is due at SC on Tuesday morning. I believe the short order of SC would determine the fate of the tug of war between the multiparty government and PTI.
PTI’s last 124 Dharna failed to get results and the then prime minister Nawaz Sharif did not resign but he later was disqualified by Supreme Court. However, the PMLN government completed his tenure. I am of the view that PTI should allow sitting in a specific place where JI had sit-in for some days. We will see if Imran Khan would get out of this sit-in? I believe after some days of sit-in he would definitely try to move ahead and would try to reach Parliament House. He can also announce a movement of civil disobedience that he also announced last time. He can ask civil bureaucracy to halt work and not follow the instructions of the multiparty government. Moreover, he can move towards the Election Commission of Pakistan’s building if ECP announces Foreign Funding Case against him he is waiting for a decision for the last eight years.
He can even ask his followers to move to Rawalpindi and demand the Pakistan Army not be stay neutral. He can do anything that would suit him to dictate the state for getting political interests. He had been a pampered boy in past and now he feels he had been betrayed— A love-hate relationship is always dangerous.
“Being friends after a breakup is like having iced tea and hot coffee together”
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.