The cat is out of the bag. The big surprise or the devastating trump card held by Imran Khan has finally been revealed. The nation held its breath for the last many days, waiting for the great earthshaking announcement by the Kaptaan of the PTI. And now finally, the great surprise or the winning card was shown to the adoring crowds in his speech at the parade ground in Islamabad. Frankly speaking, the huge crowd was definitely disappointed and felt let down because there was nothing new or even interesting in this speech that was supposed to announce the conclusive outcome of the no-confidence motion in a great victory for the PTI. Even today, the whole picture is ambiguous and mysterious. A political game is being played at a hectic pace and nobody knows who is playing by what rules or which way the wind is going to blow finally. It is a big jigsaw puzzle and the final picture will emerge on the day of voting in the National Assembly.
Imran Khan’s long-awaited speech in the much-trumpeted jalsa with the name of “Amr Bil Maruf” at the parade ground in Islamabad has instead proved to be the swan song of his government. A swan song is the final performance of an actor, singer, composer poet or the like. Swans sing beautifully before leaving the world and hence this phrase came to be used to describe someone who is leaving in style. This speech was almost of two hours and as usual was loaded with religious jargon and an attempt to paint the present political struggle as a conflict of good versus evil, and a battle between the forces of Islam versus the mysterious evil un-Islamic enemies of Pakistan. Nearing the end of his discourse, the Prime Minister whipped out a piece of paper and claimed that this was the threatening letter written by the unknown “They” – or supposedly some foreign power threatening him with dire consequences and an end to his government if he did not bow down to the will of the mysterious author of the letter.
Nobody can explain as to what exactly the point of this big non-reveal was: when the name of the threatening foreign power was not mentioned, and the content of the letter was not revealed on the pretext that this was a sensitive matter and could only be shown off the record. This is reminiscent of Neville Chamberlain, the British prime minister who, after the Munich Conference with Hitler, waved a piece of paper on landing in London and announced “I have brought peace in our time.” Less than a year later, Europe was engulfed in the flames of war resulting in the loss of over 40 million human lives. This show of confidence by Chamberlain was nothing but a bluff and a vain attempt to placate his followers and voters and lull them into a false sense of security.
Before Prime Minister Imran Khan’s jalsa, the capital was buzzing with all sorts of rumours ranging from resignation of the PM or the dissolution of the Punjab Assembly or the issue of neutrality of the Powers That Be. In a meeting with some senior journalists, the PM had claimed that all his allies and dissidents of his own party will change their minds and come to his support in the assembly on voting day for the no-confidence motion.
It now appears that the government of Imran khan were banking on the jalsa to shift the sympathy of all concerned towards the PTI – and hoping that the threat of the no-confidence move will be a bad dream and nothing more
It now appears that the government of Imran Khan were banking on the jalsa to shift the sympathy of all concerned towards the PTI – and hoping that the threat of the no-confidence move will be a bad dream and nothing more. Just a few hours before the great jalsa, the Special Advisor to the Prime Minister on Reconciliation and Harmony, Jamhoori Watan Party leader Shahzain Bugti, announced his support for the opposition by resigning from the federal cabinet. The coalition partners from PML-Q, MQM and BAP have still not declared their support to the government. Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi was quick to claim that the letter has been shown to the military establishment. If indeed there is such a letter, it must be made public or it will remain nothing but an allegation and a political gimmick. Memories of the false “35 punctures” claim from 2013 by the PM come to mind. This Jalsa was great for dramatics, but ended with a lot of disappointment for all the PTI supporters and Imran Khan fans.
Taking shelter behind such fairy tales as some international conspiracy, blaming the past governments for all the ills of our society, or utopian claims of building a Riasat-i-Madinah do not hold water any more. The fact is that his government has failed miserably to deliver on all fronts. Rising prices, unemployment, terrorism, international isolation, incompetence and bad governance are not the result of some conspiracy but sheer negligence and incompetence on the part of his entire team. Not only the opposition parties but also his own close associates and comrades in arms are disgusted with his style of ruling. Jahangir Tareen and Alim Khan are two glaring examples.
Almost four years after Imran Khan’s rule began, Pakistan is stuck in a political and economic quagmire and it now appears that his government is still hoping for some divine intervention – a miracle to save the floundering Titanic of the PTI captained by Imran Khan.