By Agha Iqrar Haroon
Former Prime Minister Imran Khan in the Lahore Public meeting said that he did not want violence in the country but he added that he would not accept a multiparty government and the only way out of the situation is holding new general elections. His tone indicates he is giving the cushion to state institutions for the time being but this cushion may not be there if state institutions would not arrange new elections for him in the next two months or so.
He ended his Lahore public meeting speech by saying: “who did the mistake (reference his voting out from PM seat) there is an opportunity for them to fix the mistake and that is the announcement of general elections as soon as possible.
“We will never accept the Imported Government, there is only one way to fix the mistake, and that is immediate Elections” Chairman Imran Khan#PakistanDemandsElections #امپورٹڈ_حکومت_نامنظور pic.twitter.com/wDmA4EatUr
— PTI (@PTIofficial) April 21, 2022
Former Federal Minister Sheikh Rasheed in Lahore Jalsa warned that if anything would happen to Imran Khan, there would be a civil war in the country.
We remember that Former Federal minister Fawad Ch has already threatened the state saying that PTI is avoiding civil war in the country and one call from PTI leader Imran Khan can trigger a civil war in the country. However, no action has been taken against him after this blatant threat to the State.
لوگوں کو غلط فہمی ہے کہ وہ عمران خان یا PTIکو بین کر سکتے ہیں۔
ہمیں بین کرانے والوں کو چُھپنے کا راستہ نہیں ملے گا۔
ملک اگر سول وار سے بچا ہوا ہے تو وہ عمران خان کے تحمل کی وجہ سے۔
ہمیں دیوار سے نہ لگایاجاۓ ورنہ بہت نقصان ہو گا-؛
فواد چوہدری@fawadchaudhry #امپورٹڈ_حکومت_نامنظور pic.twitter.com/jTTcNTBTOR
— S͜͡Yᗴᗪ B͜͡ᑌKᕼᗩᖇI (@LalBukhari) April 20, 2022
This aggressive attitude and tone of Imran Khan and his party are apparently due to impressive public meetings PTI had been holding after former PM Imran Khan was voted out through a Vote of No-Confidence in the National Assembly.
This behavior indicates that PTI is teaching state institutions that every crowd puller can blackmail the state. In a country of 220 million people, if a party or individual can gather one million people, should it consider that the party can get hold of the State? And State institutions should feel threatened?
I covered April 10, 1986 event, when late Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto landed at the old airport of Lahore and she had a public meeting at Minar-e-Pakistan. She covered this 11 km in 14 hours because the crowd chocked the entire route leading from the airport to Minar-e-Pakistan. One should remember the population of Pakistan was 120 million and Lahore’s population was around seven million in 1986. She was coming to Pakistan whose president Ziaul Haq hanged his father and ruined her whole family. She could be in a rage. she could send messages to over a million people present in her public meeting to take revenge on the state for hanging her father but she did not instigate the crowd. She was thrown out of government twice but she never shared the conversation publically she had with military leadership when she was prime minister. Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif who was removed thrice criticized Army leadership but never shared with the public any conversation he had with military leadership when he was prime minister. However, Imran Khan is a different kind of personality.
Former Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that a conspiracy was hatched against him because he wanted an independent foreign policy, he raised his voice regarding Islamophobia and his contact with Russia.
Khan who started his narrative of conspiracy against him in a March 27 public meeting indicated that the conspiracy was hatched against him because he visited Russia when Ukraine was attacked by Russian forces and because he wanted an independent foreign policy. Now he has added Islamophobia point into his narrative. He said his closeness with China was another reason for the conspiracy against him.
One should review his narrative point by point.
He has been saying that the Foreign Policy of Pakistan had been disgracing and India is much better than Pakistan and he always cites the Gen Musharraf incident when the US called him and he decided to join the so-called war on terror. He cites the incident of former Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto who said that his regime was changed by the United States and remembered Gen Ziaul Haq took over Bhutto. Foreign Policy point when he indicates, he always referred to military rules in Pakistan. By saying that the Foreign Policy of Pakistan was disgraceful for Pakistan and Imran Khan tried to make an independent Foreign Policy, he directly targets Pakistan Army. He is fortunate that he has a strong following within the families of civil and military bureaucracy and that is the reason no action has ever taken place against him though he always targets state institutions like the higher judiciary, the Election Commission of Pakistan, and uses his team to defame Pakistan Army.
Regarding his relations with China, it is fact that the CPEC was halted because several ministers of his cabinet claimed that a large-scale corruption was involved in CPEC projects during the PMLN era. We remember his Dharna caused the postponement of the visit of Chinese President Xi to Pakistan.
Regarding his point that a conspiracy was hatched against him because he was tilting toward Russia, one should remember that Pak-Russia relations were revitalized during the era of PPP rule when Asif Ali Zardari was President and the Pakistan Army played a pivotal role in enhancing the Pak-Russia relationship. We should also remember that Imran Khan’s government sent humanitarian aid to Ukraine twice within 10 days when Russia was at war with Ukraine and former Foreign Minister Qurashi had a telephonic conversation with the Ukrainian Foreign Minister sending him a message of support against Russia and also held meeting with Ukrainian Ambassador in Islamabad.
Now he has added another point that is his work for raising voices against Islamophobia at international forums. Should we not remember that Turkey was the first country that raised this point first time United Nations General Assembly meeting? If this issue is so important the west should have moved for regime change against the Turkish President.
In the Lahore Public meeting, he said he was powerless when he was Prime Minister, and actual power was enjoyed by “others” and those who had actual power accepted corruption as the norm of the country. He did not name who they were?
He is apparently building up a narrative that Pakistan Army is responsible for every problem Pakistan is facing today from alleged dependent foreign policy to terrorism Pakistan has been facing. Anytime in the future, he could claim “others” were Pakistan Army.
PTI circles indicate that if the Army would not reverse the political situation or ask the multiparty government to hold elections within the next two months, then Imran Khan will reveal something serious he has on his chest. He is a man who has been using Foreign Affairs for his domestic gains and he has a habit to share with people what COAS had been telling him (reference his conversation about Maulana Fazlur Rehman) when he was Prime Minister of the country. There is a possibility he would soon share with people whatever Army leadership had been discussing with him. He knows that nobody would dare to take action against him under the official secret act because he had already shared Demarche openly but no action was taken against him.
He had been Prime Minister of Pakistan for more than a week without any notification but nobody contested him. In past, he announced a movement of disobedience but nobody took any action against him. His team and his friends in the media are saying that there is a divide within the establishment and the majority of the establishment stands with Imran Khan while he is sending messages to the civil bureaucracy that he would soon come again in power with a two-thirds majority so bureaucracy must not follow the instructions of the sitting government. We watch there is no government in Punjab (thanks to President Arif Alvi who is working as a perfect player of the PTI team). Does PTI want to create the same situation in the federal government?
I believe our establishment understands what kind of semiotic game Imran Khan is playing with them? I also believe the sitting government understands he is building pressure on the establishment to change its policy of staying apolitical. I believe that the next 15 to 30 days are very crucial for Pakistan because this period would determine would our establishment and sitting government can survive pressure tactics or succumb to Khan’s will?
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.