Politics is the art of possibility. It provides politicians best opportunities to turn foes into friends to win public support for political causes. But seemingly Imran Khan does not support such political strategies.
Relying on confrontational politics to win public support, Khan has overplayed his hands against the establishment, government and political elite. He has offended everyone and is making the government stronger, as it is getting close to the power centers amid attacks from Khan.
The government is pretending to be on the same page as the establishment — to deter Khan from his collision course. Had Khan not lunched his long march, he would have won against the government. Instead he has scandalized his long march as it is creating more troubles for him than a way out.
Khan’s march has been a sorry show. He is not toning down his rhetoric and wrongly insinuating agencies of the country for playing a role against him. He is making the office of Chief of Army Staff (COAS) controversial. He is saying the likes of Sharifs and Zardaris cannot appoint a competent chief, as they have to hide their looted money. He is trying to sound to the public that he is the one and only politicians who can appoint a competent chief, therefore the premier should not appoint the next chief until the next elections.
Khan knows that once the new chief takes the office, he would have to restart his fight against the new leadership. He would not like to offend the coming chief because taking a fight with him would put his political fortunes in jeopardy.
Khan is desperate and wants to cut a deal before the current chaos loses steam.
The PDM government however has indicated that it will not engage in talks with Khan, since it is the executive’s prerogative to appoint the all-important chief.
Khan has backed down on the appointment of the chief but his belligerency has not stopped. In his interviews with national and international mediapersons, he is repeating the same mantra of corrupt power centres. He is making more enemies than friends.
Khan’s march has been a sorry show. He is not toning down his rhetoric and wrongly insinuating agencies of the country for playing a role against him. He is making the office of Chief of Army Staff (COAS) controversial.
Hence, the romance between the government and establishment is not because of the government’s outstanding performance rather for the slurs Khan is using against the establishment.
At the same time, Khan is taking on journalists, judges and other state officials. The latest example is the attack on his government in Punjab that is refusing to register a FIR against an ISI official. He is not only destabalising the federal government but also his own government in Punjab.
Khan has destroyed the national prestige of the country by selling the gifts he had received from Mohammad bin Salman, crown prince of Saudi Arabia. Instead of providing answers to the questions posed by Shahzaib Khanzada, Khan is trying to disrepute Khanzada via his social media teams.
Khan needs to change his advisors. Having lost friends like Jahangir Tareen, Aleem Khan and Faisal Vadaw, Khan is rudderless. Hence, the only way out for Khan is to make friends just like he did before 2018 elections. Else, Khan would be sidelined not by his foes but his friends as well.
Lastly, Imran Khan must change his narrative to win support in the power centres.
Once Khan is able to do that, he will emerge again, as politics demands making friends not enemies.