Columnist and former MNA Ayaz Amir, addressing the Islamabad High Court Bar Association (IHCBA)’s seminar on “Regime Change,” in the presence of former Prime Minister Imran Khan, has spoken at length about his views on the recently successful vote of no confidence against the PTI-led government, and its replacement by the current coalition government. Amir spoke at length about the role of the military establishment in the latest episode of political change, expressed his lack of confidence in the current PDM-led coalition government. He also subjected Imran Khan’s own time in office to some scathing criticism. The former lawmaker, who had left the PML-N in 2013 over disgruntlement for not having been granted a ticket, joined the PTI that year.
Amir expressed his view that the new government led by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, or its current allies in the PPP, cannot provide the necessary leadership in the current moment of crisis, and so ex-PM Khan was the “only option.”
Nevertheless, he stated, the former PM would have to reflect on his own decisions while in office. Amir highlighted errors from Khan’s time in office. One was when Khan granted an extension in service to the army chief, arguing that he was “comfortable” with him. According to Ayaz Amir, this has strengthened the precedent that any future chief will come into their position expecting such an extension in service as a matter of course.
Further, Amir claimed that the PTI government had “handed the country over to property dealers” – taking aim at the policies of the previous government which were known to be especially generous towards big players of the real-estate sector. “All of Pakistan’s land will not be enough to satisfy the appetite of DHAs,” he said, referring to the country’s real estate giants with links to the establishment. Amir opined that Imran Khan would have to purge the ‘evils’ (khabasatein) in his mind too, such as the Ravi Riverfront Urban Development Project and other overly conciliatory policy towards the real estate sector.
“Now that you have been pushed out, ever since you have been kicked, you have become Che Guevara. We pray that you will now remain Che Guevara, and learn from this,” Amir told the former PM, who sat in the audience smiling and with his now characteristic rosary beads in hand.
“Whatever happened, that has happened. There is no need to cry over what happened. It is clear to us that the options before us are very limited,” said Amir. He further said that Imran Khan will have to rise to the occasion and truly become that option.