Islamabad, Pakistan: Imran’s anger against Shehbaz is understandable. But against Bajwa, the man who had ‘selected’ him for the top job in order to sideline the entrenched two political families – the Zardaris and the Sharifs, is quite un-understandable.
Clearly, Imran Khan sees the army chief as villain number one. Because the General remained neutral during his troubles on the floor of Parliament. And did not respond to his SOS signalling thereby an end to Imran, the politician’s shelf life. Now Imran thinks it is payback time. Stooping low to settle scores, Imran is dubbing the Army, a power broker.
Interestingly it was the establishment that had spotted him more than five decades ago as he was leading Pakistan to victory on the cricket field and nurtured him all these years. Imran was not the first ‘selected’ Prime Minister, though. That honour goes to Nawaz Sharif, a three-time Prime Minister. He was the protege of Gen Zia-ul-Haq, who, at the behest of the US, had conducted a ‘jihad’ in Afghanistan ( against the Soviet Red Army) through proxies, and in the process nearly Talibanised Pakistan.
During the Zia regime (September 1978 – August 1988), and subsequently, as well, the Army is the one and only Holy Cow in Pakistan. For any leader worth his salt or a journalist worth his by-line, the army is simply the establishment and taking on the Khakis is a sure invitation to oblivion. But Imran in his desperation has begun firing on all cylinders at the Army. And is dubbing the Army as a power broker.
The current political situation is a problem for the country as well as the establishment. Imran Khan thundered in an interview with the Pakistani television channel, BOL TV on Wednesday, and dropped the bomb. “If the establishment doesn’t make the right decisions, then I can assure in writing that [before everyone else] they and the army will be destroyed. The country will head towards suicide.”
Both in his public speeches and in media interviews, Imran Khan leaves no doubt that the right decision for the Army is to reinvent him and let him return as Prime Minister with a ‘staged’ fresh ballot.
But it is Imran Khan’s prognosis of what is in store for Pakistan that has become hot a topic for animated discussion across the country even as it is creating nightmares for every Pakistani.
“If the right decision is not taken, Pakistan will lose its nuclear deterrence”, he cautions and declares like an astrologer, Peter Vidal that “If Pakistan is to lose its nuclear deterrent capability, it will be fragmented into three pieces”.
Balkanisation of Pakistan is thought that Pakistanis shudders even to entertain. And are unwilling to relive another 1971 – the year the Eastern Wing of the Country, East Pakistan, became Bangladesh – a sovereign, independent nation of Bengali speaking Pakistanis.
From the tribal belt of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa bordering Afghanistan to the land of naked poverty in Balochistan, on the borders with Iran, and perennially water deficit Sindh, which is at daggers’ drawn with the all-powerful Political Big Brother Punjab, Pakistan is home for fissiparous forces, insurgent groups and Islamist outfits determined to usher in the Caliphate.
Some of the Islamists are on the States’ payroll and act as the foot soldiers of the Army’s Intelligence for needling and bleeding India. Imran with his focus not going beyond his nose is giving wings to such forces.
While declaring that “Pakistan stands today on the cusp of a defining moment”, he is walking the extra mile to openly blackmail the Army with no concern whatsoever for the Institution and the country’s integrity. On the one hand, he concedes that many protestors in his Long March (May 25) were armed and on the other hand are clamouring for protection from the Judiciary for his next roadshow sometime in July.
By declaring that the unfolding events are a ‘trial for the establishment’ and a ‘trial for the judiciary’, Imran Khan has declared a no holds barred war on the Pakistani state, which is in the grip of an unprecedented economic crisis, largely on account of his own mismanagement coupled with a subsidy spree for brownie points with an eye on the ballot.
Going by reports from ‘Ground Zero’, Khan’s narrative has stolen the initiative from Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, who has an excellent track record as an administrator and crisis manager.
With his theory that the US had conspired to dethrone him, Imran is cashing in on the anti-Americanism ingrained in the Pakistani psyche. And is swaying the youth with his rhetoric and the general public by lacing his speeches with the religious idiom.
Put simply, the Imranism or Imran doctrine of ‘Either Me or Deluge’ signals that in Pakistan which was carved out of British India 75 years ago as a home for the Muslims, religion, even if it is Islam, has no place when chips are down. Another death knell to the two-nation theory? If so what. It is Power Politics, Stupid!