by M. A. Sofi 4 March 2023
The ceaselessly unfolding crisis in Pakistan involving the political turmoil and uncertainty that have gripped it in the aftermath of the army-opposition-inspired coup d’état against the Imran Khan government in April 2022 does not seem to ebb away any time soon. This despite the winds of change being heralded by the Supreme Court of Pakistan having finally given its verdict on its Suo-Moto action involving the maintainability of the plea for holding of elections to the provincial assemblies in Punjab and KPK within the next six weeks followed by this latest snippet of news that election to the Punjab assembly would be held on April 30th, even as there are no indications that the dates for elections to the KPK assembly would be announced any time soon. On the face of it, the decks have been cleared for Imran Khan’s PTI to bounce back to power in these two important states, hopefully to be followed by the elections to the national assembly where Imran Khan is poised for a landslide victory.
However, the sting in the tail comes from the stated manifesto of his party pledging its resolve to do everything it takes to go after and hold those to account who have all along cheated the country of thousands of billions of dollars of the country’s resources and stashed away their ill-gotten wealth in foreign countries. And that’s exactly the reason why those at the helm of affairs now would invent excuses to avoid elections for as long as possible, lest IK’s stint back into power would get the just dessert being served to them for theft and massive corruption that have been the hallmark of their model of governance. Apart from that, Imran Khan’s resolve to expose and bring those to justice who had plotted the brutal murder of the fearless Pakistani journalist Arshad Sharief in Kenya and those who had conspired to assassinate Imran Khan in a botched up operation where he had survived as many as sixteen bullet injuries during a protest march in the Punjab province of Pakistan are among a whole lot of reasons why elections to the national assembly may not be allowed to be held just yet by those who have been involved in these conspiracies and who thus have reason to lose their face and the humongous wealth that they had amassed mostly through illegal and illegitimate means. No prizes for guessing the usual suspects in this dirty saga of deceit, deviousness and corruption who had masterminded these assassination plots! For the starters, they are none other than the state actors in cahoots with those in the deep state who had usurped and misused the political power to engage in loot and plunder and cheat the country of its precious resources. Their stranglehold on power over almost the entire period of that country’s independent history has been made possible mostly by fraud, subterfuge and skulduggery.
At the same time, there are evidence-based reports doing the rounds now that fresh attempts are being contemplated to eliminate the Khan from the scene by these same thugs who stand to lose everything including their power, pelf and prestige, should Imran Khan be allowed to stay around to manage to get the elections conducted within the stipulated timeframe where his victory is being seen as a foregone conclusion. Guided by the manner in which he has conducted his politics over the years despite the occasional flaws in his approach and demeanour, it goes without saying that once he finds himself in a position to bring his mission to fruition and pull his country out of the morass that it’s presently seeped in, Imran Khan would emerge as a statesman of international standing whose next term at the helm of affairs in Pakistan would help usher in peace and stability in his own country, and also restore to the larger region the much needed calm and peace that has long eluded it because of needless belligerence of its deep state and matched in good measure by the hyper-nationalists on this side of the border. How I wish peace was restored to the entire region, in the absence of which it’s mainly the people of Jammu and Kashmir who have borne the brunt while paying the highest price in terms of home, hearth and the human capital.
Apart from what is expected to be achieved at the regional level as enunciated above in the event of Imran Khan coming back to power, the question arises as to how his peaceful return to power through free and fair elections is going to change the fate of Pakistan, away from the shambolic state of its politics, institutions and the economy that it’s presently beset with. The ugly truth is that the situation on all these counts is so dire that not even the gods would find it easy to stem the rot and set things right, at least in the short run. But it’s beyond doubt that across the entire spectrum of politicians, bureaucrats or the over-ambitious army generals, it’s Imran Khan alone who has the fire, the imagination and the will to pull his country out of the gigantic mess that the slew of machinations hatched against him including his ouster from power in April 2022 have pushed that country into. This is so because there’s no denying the fact that the stature of Imran Khan has grown immensely over these past few months and that he’s undoubtedly emerging as the undisputed leader of Pakistan with a massive support of the teeming millions of Pakistanis, a phenomenon that has come about especially in the aftermath of his unceremonious exit from power. Here it may be clarified that Imran Khan would not have been having such a mass support had it not been for the fact that the people of Pakistan seem to identify themselves with him purely on the ground that they see him as representing their voice and aspirations for a complete overhaul of the present system which is sick and stinking to the core.
Courtesy Imran Khan whose ouster from power has exposed the faultlines of the institutions in Pakistan, not excluding its security apparatus and the judiciary, the people have woken up to the harsh reality that the system as it prevails now is actually being run and managed by the mafia dons who are drawn from the camp comprising mainly the feudal lords, the corrupt politicians ably aided by the bureaucrats and some equally corrupt top army generals whose vice-like grip over the power structure of Pakistan right through the period of its existence has remained unchallenged. This has led in its wake to the country being treated as an international pariah while its vast resources are being exploited, looted and confined to these few hands, leaving the 95% of its population high and dry who have to sweat it out to eke out a living for survival. Which is precisely the reason why these thugs reincarnated as filthy, wretched, wicked brats being passed for as politicians of Pakistan and nurtured as the lapdogs of the army must be ruing their wisdom over the folly that they had committed together while resorting to the most heinous, devious and despicable tricks in the book to unseat Imran Khan from power.
In hindsight, however, it appears that those who had conspired to dislodge the PTI government from power in April 2022 have merely ended up giving a new lease of life to the Khan at a time when chips were down for him and his popularity had plummeted after a 43-month long stint in power that would have anyway led to his loss of face at the hustings the next time around. However, at this point when he is no longer in power and is being pushed to the wall by his adversaries in the illegally installed government who have framed him in as many as seven dozen odd cases of fraud on grounds which are weak and flimsy at best, he is seen as a one-man army who is valiantly fighting against all odds and giving them a taste of their own medicine. Now it appears that if the proceedings involving the charges filed against him are allowed to be conducted in a free and fair manner, unencumbered by the high and mighty throwing their around to influence the outcome of the proceedings then these spineless zombies shall soon be seen fleeing the country, hook line and sinker. Their refusal to see the writing on the wall that is manifest in the unprecedented mass frenzy in support of Imran Khan while the country finds itself on the threshold of an epoch-making revolution, shall extract a price that they and the country simply won’t afford to pay. History informs us that such people are fated to eat the dust before the chickens come home to roost for the sin of having sown wild oats during their Machiavellian rule.
At this point, it’s tempting to draw unmistakable parallels between these men of steel whose similarity of vision, passion and mission for realising their dream of a strong, prosperous and a peaceful nation places them on the same page of history, even as a long period of seven decades separates their appearance on the political scene of Pakistan. My reference is to Mohammad Ali Jinnah as the architect of Pakistan and the more contemporaneous Imran Khan, who has set himself the task of salvaging whatever little is left of the Qaid’s dream of a strong nation which has been reduced to a banana republic by those who have (mis)ruled that country for the better part since its inception. An idea of the similarity of their mission may be read from the fact that the Qaid had set himself the goal and mission of carving out an independent, sovereign state for Muslims in the subcontinent in the shape of Pakistan, even as he had no use for unbridled political power as the likely future head of the state while putting everything at stake including his huge fortune, a large estate in Bombay, Karachi and Lahore and a highly successful career as a renowned barrister, to boot.
Come to think of it, this man who is seen to have emerged as a true political heir apparent of M. A. Jinnah in terms of his love for the country and its people has set himself a similar mission, this time by taking upon himself the task of cleaning up the Augean stables and bail his country created by M. A. Jinnah out of the deep mess that it has now been pushed into by the enemies of that country. Like his predecessor, Imran Khan who has been a celebrity throughout his adult life and who has achieved everything as a highly successful international cricketer and a philanthropist and has earned enough for living a life of absolute peace, calm and comfort has put all that and much more at stake in pursuit of his dream to deliver his country from poverty, slavery and ignorance. However, unlike M A Jinnah who had to contend with such stalwarts as Gandhiji and Pandit Nehru in his struggle for an independent land for his people, Imran Khan has to deal with such low intellect, ignoble souls as these termites from within who are none other than these thoroughly corrupt and incompetent politicians and their mentors from a section of the top army brass. The remaining short period of less than four years of its independent history marking the brief interregnum by Imran Khan had earned him many enemies who have together ganged up to remove him from power as his continuation in the saddle was, and continues to be seen rightly as a threat to them and their wayward ways which has led this conglomeration of mafia dons to resort to low, street level, deceitful manoeuvrings to see the Khan dislodged from the power structure of Pakistan for all times to come.