Imran Khan used to criticise the Pakistani establishment before coming to power. Then he came to power and stopped criticising them. He had three years to fix the political structures and did not do anything.
For their part, the PML-N leadership, especially Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz, after the election of 2018, when removed from power, started to criticise the establishment – beginning with the narrative of “Mujhe kyun nikala?”
Now PML-N has stopped criticising the establishment because they are in power. No vitriol from Maryam Nawaz has been observed lately.
And now, we have seen Imran Khan once again criticising the establishment.
Whoever is out of power in Pakistan politics starts to blame the establishment. Will the situation ever change? The onus is on politicians. As to whether the PTI’s Punjab win in the by-elections will once again change Imran’s narrative in support of the Establishment or not remains to be seen.
After the success of the no-confidence motion, Khan had another prudent option after he was ousted from the PM’s office. That was to remain in the parliament and fight for the rights of the people. He would have acted as a productive opposition and could have confronted the new regime within the bounds of the constitution on a plethora of issues.
For some, the Punjab by-election win does establish him as the ‘only’ leader people like and want PTI in Punjab by hook, line and sinker. This is still debatable as the dataset that we have of 20 seats to make a judgment is limited. What we need is a general election to get the real picture countrywide.
People expected a ‘promised change’ offered by Khan. Many already had lost trust in the other two main political parties’ leadership even before he arrived at the scene. Therefore, people’s hopes were very high. While in power, he did not attend parliament as he should have. He did not have time to meet with his own party members, the MNAs and other coalition partners. It seemed he was flying very high while in power. That luxury is gone now. He had to rebuild the trust and he did it – at least up to the provincial level of Punjab province.
It is, however, true that the level of disappointment amongst many people is very high: they have no option left. History tells us that PPP and PML-N’s governing tenures were infested with corruption. PTI gave people a breath of fresh air that did not work, and now hopelessness has settled in. Khan is tapping on this hopelessness without considering the ground realities of how Pakistan is being damaged internally.
The question of “foreign-inspired and locally-sponsored regime-change operation in Pakistan,” is in question itself now. For after all, an ordinary citizen one would ask what happened to the “foreign conspiracy and imported government” when PTI wins most of the seats out of 20 in Punjab (till the filing of this article)!
In any case, PTI is getting a second chance and should go back to Parliament, and try to win hearts of its disgruntled MNAs and coalition partners, so as to pave the way for coming back to power in the centre. This current regime is also standing on very flimsy ground, and now they should rethink: to either stay in power or resign and go back to the people. The option of going back to the people for a mandate seems prudent at this point.
It is a welcome gesture that PPP and PML-N leaders have indicated that they are going to accept the by-election results with “an open heart” and will not agitate against any supposed wrongdoings. This is what democracy is all about and they should be praised on this acceptance, because if they chose not to, the cycle of political ambiguity would have begun again and a destructive game of musical chairs would have ensued.
One wonders if the situation were not in the PTI’s favour, and the results had been less acceptable to them, as to what their reaction would have been. Would they have accepted the results with an “open heart” or not?