Pakistan: PTI’s Mob Politics – OpEd
Last week witnessed massive political upheavals across the country. The arrest of Imran Khan in a corruption case was most prominent one. Government says Khan was taken into a custody for not co-operating with authorities in an ongoing corruption investigation. The case alleges that Mr Khan, while he was the PM, received land as a bribe in exchange for political favours. It revolves around an investigation conducted by Britain’s National Crime Agency into ‘laundered’ money by Pakistan’s biggest property tycoon Malik Riaz Hussain.
Imran Khan’s arrest set off violent clashes involving his supporters and police in several cities, including Islamabad, that left at least six people dead, and his continued detention raised the prospect of more unrest. Khan was released on bail last Friday. Following a Cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif denounced the attacks on public property and military installations, and he approved the deployment of troops in the capital of Islamabad, Punjab, and in the northwest.
In latest unrest, thousands of protesters stormed a radio station and offices of the state-run agency in Peshawar. The military weighed with a strongly worded statement, vowing to take stern action against those seeking to push Pakistan toward a ‘civil war.’ It called the organized attacks on its installations a ‘black chapter’ in the country’s political history.
Khan’s supporters in Peshawar raided a building housing Radio Pakistan, damaging equipment and setting fire to it, said police official Naeem Khan. Some employees were trapped inside, he said, and police were trying to restore order. In Punjab province, the local government asked the army to step in after authorities said 157 police were injured in clashes with protesters. Police have arrested 945. Khan supporters in eastern Punjab province alone since Tuesday senior leaders from PTI.
The military headquarters in Rawalpindi was attacked and Khan’s supporters stormed security posts in the northwest, torching the security Chakdara fort on the border with Afghanistan. In Lahore on Tuesday night, demonstrators ransacked and then burned down the residence of the top regional commander in Lahore, Lt. Gen. Salman Fayyaz Ghani.
Unfortunately, PTI is giving priority to politics over national issues. The unrest happened at a time when Pakistan is struggling to avoid a default amid stalled talks with International Monetary Fund for the revival of a bailout. Political stability is linked to economic stability and I don’t see any sign of revival of the economy due to the volatile and fascist approach of Imran Khan and his party.
Political leaders should set aside their egos and sit together and think about Pakistan, which is on the verge of a default. Spiraling violence is not exactly going to help move the needle forward with Islamabad convincing foreign investors, the IMF, and others that this government is ready to focus laserlike on easing its economic crisis.
The government has been trying to reach an agreement with the International Monetary Fund to restart a $6.5 billion loan program that has stalled since November, in an effort to keep the economy afloat. The fund has presented a set of conditions in exchange for the release of a $1.1 billion loan installment. It includes liberalizing the rupee’s exchange rate and raising taxes.
One third of Pakistan’s farmland was affected after catastrophic floods last summer. According to the International Rescue Committee, 33 million people in Pakistan were affected by the severe flooding that has caused $40 billion in economic damage. Inflation has soared in recent months, with ordinary good becoming increasingly unaffordable. Pakistan’s consumer price index rose to a record 35% in March from a year earlier, according to official figures.
Instead of focusing on Pakistan’s economic development, PTI and Imran Khan both are playing politics over these issues. Imran Khan is not even talking to the government so that they can hold dialogue. Entire this process is hurting Pakistan politically and economically.
PTI has been proliferating anarchy and panic across the country since last week. It has misguided its workers and instigated them against state institution in order to accomplish political oriented objectives. Those who attacked military installations and other state institutes were politically motivated people of Imran Khan’s party. They spread chaos across the country and made the entire country paralyze.
The writer is an Islamabad based expert of strategic affairs
One thought on “Pakistan: PTI’s Mob Politics – OpEd”
Mob politics, becasue you say it is? What an idiot you are.. Just sitting back and letting the chor getting away with it AGAIN is not an option.