The country was at the brink of another doctrine, more severe and more adverse than the doctrine of necessity and the incumbent one. It was a doctrine which could have potentially ripped out all the norms had the institutions not intervened in time. The political turmoil is not yet over and the dust has not yet settled but constitutionalism prevailed, leaving many lessons for the cricketer-turned-politician who failed to show a sportsman’s spirit when he was losing power.
Politics need tolerance, which the captain lacks, besides several other faults ranging from how he went about choosing his team to making decisions. The former premier came into power with massive unprecedented support from the security institutions, perhaps the most blessed prime minister in the history of civilians’ tenures. A captain who ruled the country on the crutches of the military establishment and judiciary ended up one day in such a manner that the political elite joined hands for his ouster through a constitutional process. Subsequently, he left the office unceremoniously.
The captain of the ship and his team manifested arrogance and stubbornness to let the country sink into martial law as they were not ready at any cost to transfer power. However, this time, the process of the ouster produced opportunities for the institutions to mend their past mistakes and they did. The all-time powerful establishment and the judiciary took the responsibility for the conclusion of a constitutional process. Those judges who were earlier in the good books of the captain are now being maligned for they have not given the desired results in the shape of a judgment like in the past. The chief justice with his learned brothers assembled at midnight to demonstrate their commitment to their oath. This time, the top court maintained its sanctity and upheld the supremacy of the constitution through a loud, clear and unanimous judgment reversing the entire process which had been initiated by the former regime in a dictatorial manner. The role of the chief justice was the main factor that deterred the plans of the civilian dictator.
At this crucial time, sanity also prevailed in the military establishment as it stuck to the book without any unconstitutional intervention. These developments extended many lessons for Imran Khan but apparently, he is not ready to take them as a learning course. Criticism could have helped him to survive with grace but the collision with every institution including mainstream media was the option he opted for. Consequently, the institutions remained in their arena, leaving no other option for Khan but to quit with ignominy. It all started when the intellectuals and commoners started openly naming officials in the then top brass for meddling in politics to favour Khan’s regime which the institution could not tolerate anymore. One cannot ignore the fact that global powers keenly monitor political change in a country like Pakistan. A number of different factors play a role in regime change. The affairs were smooth till the appointment of the DG ISI last year and Khan was eying the next general election in the presence of a favourable person sitting as the chief. But, the tussle between Khan and the military leadership gained momentum thereafter, as the reservations within the institution cultivated that reputation and discipline that the army was known for.
The deterioration in economic conditions coated with bad governance, in the biggest province in particular and the rest of the country generally, added fuel to fire. The defence budget was at stake and foreign relations primarily with the United States were not easily ignored. With Khan’s visit to Russia, the notion of the same-page took its last breaths and the opposition parties were preparing for their turn meanwhile. Advisors close to Khan kept him in the dark or misguided him and the practice continues. The idea of collective resignations from the national assembly, if materialised, will not alter the dimensions of the political landscape, rather it will keep hurting Khan’s politics despite the street power, no matter how massive.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, if it resigns from the assembly, will again repeat the mistake of not staying in parliamentary politics knowing a bitter reality that he has no support this time from powerful quarters as happened in the past. As a member of the national assembly, Khan in his political career never was a part of parliamentary politics nor had he ever participated in any legislation or attended the standing committees.
After resignations, the PTI will not be able to play its role in the caretaker setup, appointments of members of the election commission and the process of election reforms. Rather, the new regime may take another opportunity to hold by-elections in parts. Becoming active in parliamentary politics will inevitably help Khan bag a majority in the next general election.