With every other day, the political turmoil in Pakistan is worsening and the economic downfall is adding insult to injury. The former Prime Minister Imran Khan is on the streets to protest against his ousting from the PM office using a fictitious tale of foreign conspiracy against him. So far, he has remained successful in securing his image as a populist leader of Pakistan, but lack of any future economic plan and vibrant foreign policy that image seems to be short-lived. The narrative of Imran Khan so far has been to portray himself as the only solution of all the existing problems in Pakistan.
On the other hand, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Pakistan Muslim League (N), who joined hands to remove the PTI government are also struggling to give the country any plan towards stability and progress. Their narrative has been that they are trying to save Pakistan from a cult political leader in the shape of Imran Khan and only they are the best option to run the government.
The only agenda prevailing in the political circles these days is surge to power and not a single political party has given any tangible plan, helping Pakistan to get out of the brewing economic crisis. During the last 14 years of a democratic tenure in Pakistan, the political elites enjoyed complete liberty but unfortunately, they failed to deliver anything productive.
Every political party is working on the agenda of master narratives (carefully crafted narratives meant to mobilize individuals and groups for a particular cause). Such narratives would play the key role in inciting violence, which may drag Pakistan towards a catch-22 situation.
This war of narratives during a time when Pakistan is facing economic instability leading to rampant inflation, power shortfall, droughts, and related issues can prove to be detrimental for Pakistan. The chance of an impending civil unrest cannot be overlooked, national integration is the need of time and political consensus over key national issues can help row the boat towards normality. The political elites are skating on thin ice, and they must watch their steps otherwise the country would be left with nothing but chaos. Whenever political parties agree to go for elections, a strong team of technocrats, academicians, and security officials be formulated on immediate basis for finding a way out of this crisis, otherwise the nation would find itself in a cleft stick.
Early election is another debate that can prove to be a reason for hue & cry in the political circles. No political party wants the other to dominate and therefore, every party has its own demand of election reforms. There must be a consensus over the appointment of two remaining members of Election Commission for reaching understanding to hold free and fair elections. This consensus would avoid any future debate over election rigging and all the parties would have to accept the results. Considering the present situation where Pakistan can be traced to reach the same situation faced by Sri Lanka – early elections with a consensual interim government, Chief Election Commissioner and other important pre-requisites are inevitable.
About Author: Humais Sheikh is an independent defense analyst based in Islamabad. He has completed his Masters in Defense and Strategic Studies from Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad.