Imran Khan knows how to turn public in his favour but he does know how to improve the economy, act like a democratic leader and argue his case based on give and take. He is showing totalitarian tendencies, abusing politicians, throwing slurs at state officials and judges in want of achieving illegal favours. This is an attempt to siege the state not the government — as Khan has locked his horns with the all-powerful establishment of the country.
Previously, the establishment played a mediatory role to ease political crises in the country. But, with the dismissal of Khan’s government through a vote of no confidence, the equation has changed. The establishment, as an institution, has decided to not take part in politics, in favour of any politician, and has accepted that it has made mistakes in the past. It has withdrawn itself from politics.
But Khan does not like neutrality. He is using pressure tactics to win the establishment over to his side. He is bullying the state institutions with his political diatribes to destabilise the country in following his political goals. He wants the establishment to set the date for next elections, which is an unconstitutional demand.
Additionally, he wants to appoint the next army chief. But given the promise of neutrality by the power centres, it does not seem that he would be successful in achieving his goals. Nevertheless, amid rising political tensions, he would of course destroy the economy of Pakistan.
Despite political pressure from Imran Khan, the presser by DG ISPR and DG ISI has cleared that the institution has decided to stay neutral following the constitution of Pakistan. They have also reaffirmed the fact that for the next 20 years the institution would adhere to this policy as it is a combined decision of the new leadership of the military of Pakistan. Having cleared the new policy and its contours, they have dismantled the fabricated narratives of Imran Khan such as foreign conspiracy, and the involvement of Mir Jaffers in the process of vote of no confidence. Thus, this whole policy is a good omen for the democratic system of Pakistan. However, not so good for populists like Imran Khan. He is trying to portray the new impartial rules of the game as biased, prejudiced and anti-Pakistan.
From Khan’s attitude, it can be inferred that he is not interested in separation of power between the institutions. He wants to bring the judiciary, military and executive under his pressure to accept his demands.
From the consistent attack of Imran Khan on the establishment as his March moves forward to Islamabad, it is clear that Khan is not interested in the institution’s impartial role. He wants them to help him to come to power as he did in 2018, which is currently impossible.
From Khan’s attitude, it can be inferred that he is not interested in separation of power between the institutions. He wants to bring the judiciary, military and executive under his pressure to accept his demands. Else, he would destabilize the country amid a worsening political and economic crisis.
He wants to abolish the social, political and economic system just as any fascist leader till his demands are accepted, which is no longer possible as the state is on a fast track on establishing its writ that has been challenged since the hybrid regime of Imran Khan came into being.
It is thus time for Khan to realize that he is no longer the messiah of the nation but a political leader. Therefore, he should act like one and go to the parliament to address his concerns.
Imran Khan says that the government is creating a rift between him and the establishment. Further, he says, because the government is powerless, why should he talk to it, and the real fight is “Khan versus the establishment”.
Both the demands of Imran Khan — early elections and appointment of COAS — are unconstitutional. It is incumbent on the current system to avoid political confrontation and ease the situation as per the constitution. Pakistan cannot afford to establish a bad precedent of coming under the pressure of Khan and accept his demands. If the state fails to establish its writ today, it will be challenged by any other group tomorrow, leading to a new era of political marches for unconstitutional demands.