Imran Khan has launched a mass movement following the announcement to resign from the National Assembly. The so-called movement is packaged as ‘Struggle for Freedom’. He is trying hard to somehow regain public support by posing himself as an icon of freedom from the clutches of Pakistan’s samraaj (imperialism).
Whatever happened recently will be remembered in Pakistani history for long. Imran Khan’s strategy was to create grounds for a martial law. He was making efforts till the last minute for some generals loyal to him to take the reins of power. He also made a failed attempt to dismiss the army chief. After sacrificing his National Assembly Speaker, he was finally forced to part ways with the government.
The decision by the Supreme Court and the Islamabad High Court to open their gates at midnight on Saturday April 9 proved to be decisive. This led to a peaceful exit of Imran Khan and avoided further chaos. His loyal men were all set to restrain the no-trust voting to prove their faith in him, but once it became clear that they would be arrested and sent behind bars, they backed off paving the way for a new coalition to take charge of the country.
Was Imran really conspired against, leading to a ‘regime change’? This will become clearer in the coming days. The so-called ‘threat’ by the US indicated in a letter’ will also come to light and any changes made to it will be exposed.
Imran Khan claims that the US wanted to remove him from power because he remained impartial on the Ukraine war. He claimed this when he felt the real danger of being ousted through the no-trust move and faced a rebellion within his party. It was an important aspect of his propaganda so he could awaken patriotism among people. Instead of arousing anti-India sentiments, he chose to be anti-American as anti-US and anti-West sentiments are already popular among the masses.
Imran Khan’s stance reeks of hypocrisy and opportunism. Anti-Americanism isn’t just about raising anti-US slogans but whether you take any anti-US measures too.
If Imran was in actuality anti-US, he would seize the flight of the US dollar that had gone up in his last days when he was busy raising opportunist slogans. If he was anti-US, he would have expelled US institutions and diplomats from the country. He would have also refused to the IMF or to put the State Bank at stake.
Former editor Jiddojuhud Farooq Sulehria describes the traits that represent opposition to samraaj: national freedom, women’s freedom, protection of democracy and minorities, political and social empowerment and right to self-determination for the suppressed minorities. It also means freedom and salvation of the oppressed from every sort of tyranny and accepting their legitimate resistance.
Moreover, you cannot like freedom and be a tyrant at the same time. An anti-samraaj that can’t talk about nationalizing oil, introducing agricultural reforms or allowing laborers to form trade unions doesn’t bother the samraaj at all.
So, we don’t see any measures from Imran Khan against the samraaj except for opportunist chants. While Imran’s departure makes us a bit relieved but those replacing him too can’t be supported.
The new bunch of rulers are supporters of privatization and will continue the neo-liberal policies. Therefore, there should be no hope for or misconception about any radical measures from them.
However, the kind of measures that Imran took to gag the media, put opponents behind bars, and introduce extremely anti-people economic steps made his earliest exit necessary.
Imran had become more religious in recent days and seemed to believe more in magic and spells, was supporting the Taliban, and his mismanagement led to high levels of inflation. He was also making attempts to bring the support of the country’s religious groups into his fold. The more you adopt right-wing policies, the more you strengthen extremist religious outfits.
The reality is that Imran Khan now loved power more than he loved his life and he made countless efforts to continue to cling to it. Those who had brought him to power in 2018 were remorseful. Despite all false claims, Imran fell out with his benefactors. So, they had a role in toppling his government. In fact discontinuation of military support alone was enough to bring Imran Khan down.
What will the new government be able to do? This is another thorough subject for another time. However, what’s clear is that Imran’s ‘anti-US’ narrative won’t last for long. He is no anti-imperial hero.