ISSN 2330-717X

US Targeting Pakistan PM Imran Khan Is Ominous – OpEd

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Ominous it is for United States future policy perspectives on South Asia that while anti-Americanism noticeably persisted in Islamic Republic of Pakistan for decades fanned by Islamist outfits, for the first time in April 2022, voted- out PM Imran Khan publicly and vociferously targeted United States accusing Washington of regime-change plots for cheap political gains.

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Ominous it is for Pakistan’s national unity in that post-April 2022, losing out on a ‘No Confidence Motion’ in the National Assembly, PTI Chief Imran Khan has drawn huge crowds in his favour by implicitly portraying his political successors mostly from Pakistan Punjab as American stooges and seeking empathy from Pakistan’s Frontier Regions which were subjected to US drone attacks till lately.

The above is divisive for Pakistan’s national unity and perceptionaly Imran Khan is sowing the seeds of a possible civil war in Pakistan, bent as he is on these divisive political strategies. This apprehension stands voiced within Pakistan too.

In fact, two days back Imran Khan publicly asserted in Peshawar that out of office he was more dangerous than what he was while in PM office.

Pakistan Army Chief Bajwa belatedly attempted damage control when he asserted that Pakistan sought a long term strategic relationship with United States. But damage has been done to United States image in Pakistan wherein United States stood always painted in devilish hues by the religious conservatives. 

Ominous it for the Pakistan Army and in tandem the United States that a number of Pakistan Army retired Generals are supporting Imran Khan’s postures in public assertions as per media reports. Washington would have to seriously factor-in this trend in its policy formulations as earlier United States counted heavily on the Pakistan Army military hierarchy as a monolithic whole.

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Pakistan in April 2022 re-figuring as Nuclear Weapons virtually ‘Failed State’ presents a dichotomous picture of an Islamic Republic which until Pakistan promiscuously preferred China over United States, despite decades of thriving on United States financial and military largesse. In April 2022, United States stood targeted viciously by politically displaced PM Imran Khan.

Ominous it should be for the United States that preceding the Constitutional crisis inflicted by then PM Imran Khan to hang on to power in Islamabad, the Chinese Foreign Minister was in Islamabad ostensibly as a Special Invitee for OIC Foreign Ministers Meet and Imran Khan’s closest political aide Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi was in Beijing at the height of the crisis.

United States unlike in past decades when both United States and China had strategic convergences on Pakistan has no longer that policy luxury. In 2022, both China and Pakistan are decidedly Anti-American even if top levels of Pakistan Army may not be so. The ‘China Factor’ will bedevil Pakistan’s perspectives on United States for quite some time to come.

‘United States-Baiting’ promises to be a prominent General Elections political issue which seem imminent going by current political indicators. PTI Chief Imran Khan has always been a ‘Bad Loser’ even as Captain of Pakistan Cricket team. This time around for his own political survival and the vengeful utterances by him on losing power, Imran Khan will viciously and vocally exploit Ant-Americanism for his election gains.

Regrettably, the younger urban generation of Pakistanis seem to be mesmerised by Imran Khan’s flamboyant personality and forget that Imran Khan’s Anti-American postures are merely a ploy to divert Pakistani public scrutiny of his political diplomatic and economic failures. One may not be wrong in advancing the perceptional view that in Islamic States ‘Personality Cults’ outweigh political maturity and prudence. Imran Khan has striven to build that Personality Cult’ around his persona.

Ominously Imran Khan has demonstrated that he has no political or personal respect for the Constitution, constitutional processes or the Supreme Court. His driving passion is his greed for personal political power at ‘any cost’. To that end in the next few months and till General Elections take place Imran Khan can be expected to generate unprecedented political turbulence and even violence.

Should Imran Khan re-emerge as Prime Minister, even then, Pakistan enters a period of political uncertainty and turbulence, as in that event he would try to get even with the Pakistan Army hoping that the divisiveness that he has recently sown may work in his favour.

Concluding, it needs to be emphasised that it is not only Pakistan that is entering into ‘trying times’ but also the United States too. All  past rationales and premises of Washington’s policy formulations on Pakistan stand today rendered irrelevant  by ‘Anti-Americanism’ emerging as the as the winning slogan for capturing political power in Pakistan. And hovering in that backdrop is the ‘China Factor’ waiting to cash-in.

Pakistan as a politically fragile Nuclear Weapons State was plunged into a Constitutional crisis this month as previous PM Imran Khan since voted out by National Assembly, earlier dissolved by him, but reconvened on Supreme Court orders, targeted the United States ominously accusing Americans of engineering his regime change.

Dr. Subhash Kapila

Dr Subhash Kapila combines a rich and varied professional experience of Indian Army Brigadier ( Veteran), diplomatic assignments in the United States, Japan, South Korea, and Bhutan. Served in India's Cabinet Secretariat also. He is a Graduate of Royal British Army Staff College, Camberley, UK, Msc Defence Studies from Madras University and a Doctorate in Strategic Studies from Allahabad University. Papers have been presented by him in International Seminars in Japan,Turkey, Russia and Vietnam. Credited to him are over 1,500 Papers on geopolitical & strategic topical issues and foreign policies of USA, Japan, India, China and Indo Pacific Asia. He has authored two Books : "India's Defence Policies & Strategic Thought: A Comparative Analysis" and "China-India Military Confrontation: 21st Century Perspectives"

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