Vandalism: PTI’s New Way Of Doing Politics – OpEd


The recent events which have taken over the country reminds me of the 1960s and 1970s, political unrest somehow keeps everyone on their toes. These days people at large are now becoming more of ‘daredevils’, that old fear of the unknown seems to be fading, maybe lack of implementations of law, nothing seems to work to get the country back on track. There is no one above the law and that has to be accepted. The law has to ensure that it executes this in the true meaning of the constitution. As far as Imran Khan’s PTI is concerned, it shouldn’t get away from the judicial proceedings and not consider itself above the law. Politicians and political parties in Pakistan have been facing courts for cases against them. They appeared many times despite various issues including health. Now, when PTI is to face the judicial system, it is falsely accusing state of using the anti-graft bodies for political victimization. However, it has so far failed to prove their cases before courts. 

The recent volatile of PTI in the aftermath of Imran Khan’s arrest has triggered another political debate across the country. Indeed, this all is happening because of polarization of Pakistani society which itself originated from years of bad governance in the country. Over the years there has been gradual polarization of Pakistani society from multiple angles; religious and sectarian, factional and ethnic, provincial and political. Whereas, all other forms of polarization are going-on covertly in various parts of the country, the political polarization has dominated the society since April 2022. This polarization started with change of PTI Government. 

This trend continues as PTI started protests against the incumbent government to hold early elections. Various events took place since then and the arrest of Imran Khan had turn Pakistan into the chronic political disorders and put the country into a full-blown crisis. The subsequent violence unleashed by his party cadres/supporters, was unprecedented even by Pakistani standards. After the involvement of Supreme Court, Imran Khan is now out of jail and the violence has subsided, but a more chaotic situation is likely to emerge, as the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) government, seems hell-bent on his re-arrest. Khan’s anti-Establishment rhetoric remains unchanged, and has, indeed, become even more belligerent.      

Significantly, on May 9, when Imran appeared before a court in Islamabad, he was arrested from the premises of Islamabad High Court for the crime of corruption in Al-Qadir Trust headed by him and his wife Bushra Bibi. Immediately after the arrest, PTI cadres and supporters unleashed large-scale violence. Indeed, soon after Khan’s arrest in Islamabad, protests erupted in the city and spread rapidly to other parts of the country, including major cities such as Rawalpindi, Lahore, Karachi, Gujranwala, Faisalabad, Multan, Peshawar and Mardan. Crowds of protesters, mostly PTI supporters, chanting Allahu Akbar and Nara-e-Takbeer lined up on the streets of Pakistan, going on a rampage against security establishments and personnel. In the most daring attack, which may have a long-lasting impact on Army’s position in Pakistan, protestors stormed General Headquarters of Army in Rawalpindi. The Corps Commander’s residence in Lahore was also ransacked and vandalized. Several videos on social media depicting pictures of mayhem across Pakistan flooded the Internet, as violent protests spread. It seems Imran Khan’s party PTI has encouraged mob violence across the country by instigating its supporters to malign armed forces and attack their installations. 

Earlier, after the Islamabad High Court (IHC) ruling that Khan’s arrest was legal, he had appealed to SC. On May 11, the SC termed the arrest invalid and unlawful and ordered his release but asked the Police to keep him under protection and produce him before the IHC on May 12. All indications suggest an imminent escalation of political crisis. There is a possibility also of a significant rise in terrorism, with the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) intensifying operations as well. It is useful to recall that Khan has long been relatively sympathetic to the TTP, long supporting a negotiated settlement with the terrorists, instead of kinetic operations against them. Khan has also alleged that the TTP was trying to kill him. But there is no reason to believe, if nothing more, that the TTP will take advantage of any compounding of the political disorders in the country to intensify its own campaign of terror. 

Amidst a deteriorating security situation in the country due to escalating terrorism, more particularly after the withdrawal of the TTP from peace talks in November 2022, the volatile economic and uncertain political situation, Khan’s onslaught, even after his release from jail, against the Military Establishment and the government has unnerved both the centres of national power. Nevertheless, it is useful to recall that the Army remains by far the most powerful institution in Pakistan. Given the scale and character of the protests across the country after Khan’s arrest, however, there can be no simple predictions of any easy outcome of the present contretemps – certainly in the long run. After a downslide over decades, Pakistan appears to be at the threshold of some very ‘interesting times’.

So in order to stop this stampede the law has to come hard and firm, and also teach a lesson for these future performances to take heed that such lawlessness will not be allowed under any circumstances. In the same breath, law has to be executed in its true spirit. The elements of victimization must not be the focal point. Today, there is still time for a dialogue, there was an opportunity which both sides have missed out due to their stupidity and stubbornness. 

The author is Islamabad based expert of strategic affairs and can be reached at [email protected] 

One thought on “Vandalism: PTI’s New Way Of Doing Politics – OpEd

  • May 20, 2023 at 2:22 am

    The incumbent clowns who have been governing in the absence of PTI have raised the expectation of political victimization, whether this has played into the wrong hands, it is too early to tell. Subtle debate has been eliminated from the public forum, and it was the Supreme court procedures that are being consistently ignored. This adds up to a bitter pill for disease so very common.


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