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Imran Khan, establishment and expected deal

Ambassador Dr. Jamil

The writer is a former ambassador, senior analyst and international affairs expert.

PTI Chairman Imran Khan is facing difficult circumstances these days as first he was imprisoned in Attock, and then in Adiala Jail. It’s natural, because sooner or later, a person has to reap what he or she sow.

In his time of rule, people’s homes were raided, the opposition went to jail, and imprisonment was endured. If seen from a technical perspective, the leaders of the opposition were behind bars, and Imran Khan was standing alone. When a person, standing alone, confronts a crowd like a lion, those who were once considered as jackals start hunting as lions alongside him. So, same is happening with PTI.

In the past, in 1984, when Benazir Bhutto returned, numerous decisions were being made at the government level, and a difficult decision was made to allow Benazir Bhutto’s entry into the country from the airport. Then, millions of people came out to welcome her, which was a sensible decision.

Then, if we look at the times of the 21st century, neither Nawaz Sharif nor Benazir Bhutto were allowed to return during General Pervez Musharraf’s era. But then, the day arrived when Nawaz Sharif’s return became smooth, and later, he became the Prime Minister, which gave him the opportunity to establish a national record, i.e., the largest political leader who has not only become Prime Minister but also achieved the distinction of setting up a government with a track record of successfully becoming the largest political leader in the country. 

Does Nawaz Sharif really have solutions to all the people’s problems? If yes, then why, despite becoming Prime Minister three times in the past, couldn’t Nawaz Sharif save the country from the IMF and the debt system, and why were deals made with the IPPs that only benefit electricity generating companies, not the ones who pay their hard-earned money to pay electricity bills?

This is about the Muslim League-N. If we talk about the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf again, Imran Khan and the current President, Dr. Arif Alvi, who apparently said that there would be no deal with the establishment and that we will decide, are seemingly looking for some deal and various messages are being sent through social media and TV channels, showing military leadership flexing its muscles for various deals and conveying messages that are not in favor of PTI.

Today, an ordinary person only thinks about how the stove at his house will burn, which has been extinguished by heavy electricity bills, and how there will be light in his house when the meter has been disconnected because electricity bills have not been paid for the past 2 or 3 months. How will poor children get an education when their parents have removed them from school thinking whether they should pay the school fees or meet their household expenses?

How will the country progress when the hands of its youth hold useless degrees, and their fellow countrymen loot and kill each other with pistols and guns? How will the children of this nation become officers who have snatched books from their hands, provided them with clothes to clean cars, and removed them from school? What about the capable leader, Mian Sahib, who, when he comes, the world will see, and he is the only leader who has solutions to all the problems of the people?

Can Imran Khan’s government really be criticized for its performance? If yes, then why hasn’t the criticism been successful despite making a deal with the establishment? Why are there always excuses, including Bilawal’s foreign tours and the performance of the caretaker government, and why is the present state of Imran Khan that:

خوب پردہ ہے کہ چلمن سے لگے بیٹھے ہیں

صاف چھپتے بھی نہیں، سامنے آتے بھی نہیں

The possibilities of a deal with the establishment and Imran Khan’s leadership do not seem to have any effect, as dealing with the establishment is not visible. It is felt that President Arif Alvi and Shah Mahmood Qureshi and other remaining leaders of PTI will definitely participate in the elections, and successful candidates with public support will also be elected.

So, Imran Khan’s participation in the elections currently doesn’t seem feasible from a technical perspective because there is pressure from outside the country as well, which cannot be dealt with for a long time, and it is possible that Imran Khan’s allegations against the PTM government or the turning of all issues in some other way might happen, because making our people attracted to false promises has always been a favorite pastime of politicians and sometimes even the establishment.

In the past, the weakness of the nation’s memory has been taken advantage of by self-serving politicians, and such opportunities cannot be ignored in the future either.

Nawaz Sharif’s party believes in him, but in the case of former Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif, the party’s perspective is inclined towards someone else. If it is said that Nawaz Sharif does not have anyone’s blessings, yet he is returning to his country, then this notion is not accepted because in the recent past, many times Nawaz Sharif had promised to return, and dates were given, but he always denied it.

Denying the return has a lot to do with Imran Khan’s government, which, as the opposition, put every leader in jail and considered it their duty. They relentlessly, diligently, and with hard work fulfilled that duty, which is acknowledged even today. So, when PTI raises questions about the legitimacy of Imran Khan’s participation in elections, it doesn’t carry much weight because during elections, a large number of people cast their votes and elect their representatives, and currently, technical participation by Imran Khan in elections doesn’t seem feasible as the establishment doesn’t seem to care about any deal with Imran Khan.

It feels like the President of the country, Arif Alvi, and Shah Mahmood Qureshi, among others, will participate in the elections, and successful candidates with public support will also be elected.

So, PTI’s statement that elections without Imran Khan would be unconstitutional or unethical doesn’t hold much importance because in elections, a large number of people elect their representatives, and currently, sidelining the seemingly most popular leader from the elections does not show a significant difference in the country’s political situation, as claimed by the PTI.

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