Mob Politics: Imran Khan’s Assault On State Institutions And Dangers To National Security – OpEd


Mob politics refers to the actions and influence exerted by organized groups or mobs in the political sphere, often characterized by their use of intimidation, violence, and manipulation to achieve their goals. When mob politics takes hold, it can have severe consequences for state institutions and national security.

Mob politics, is characterized by the use of violence and intimidation by organized groups, poses a significant threat to state institutions and national security. One of the most alarming manifestations of this threat is the direct attack on military installations. These attacks not only jeopardize the safety of military personnel but also undermine the integrity of state institutions and compromise national security. This article examines the role of mob politics in targeting military installations, exploring the consequences and the broader implications for the stability and security of a nation, in the wake of the recent events which transpired under the aegis of the erstwhile prime minister Imran Khan. 

Imran Khan has been the main protagonist of mobocracy in Pakistan, as evident from his attacks on the military. Mob politics poses a significant threat to state institutions as it undermines and erodes their integrity, functionality, and ability to operate effectively. Mobs often seek to replace established systems and institutions with their own rule or manipulate existing institutions to serve their interests. This can result in a breakdown of governance, weakened rule of law, and diminished public trust in state institutions. Attacks on military installations by mobs undermine the authority and credibility of state institutions. By breaching the sanctity of these highly secured facilities, mobs challenge the state’s ability to protect its vital assets. The inability to safeguard military installations erodes public trust in the government’s ability to maintain law and order, weakening the foundation of a functioning state.

Mob politics operates outside the framework of established regulations and diminishing the rule of law and, substituting them with a culture of intimidation and coercion. This undermines the rule of law, as mob actions can supersede due process, leading to a climate of impunity. State institutions responsible for upholding the law can be compromised, as mob influence infiltrates the judiciary, law enforcement agencies, and other key entities.

The involvement of mobs in political activities can pose a significant risk and threat to national security. Mobs often resort to violence, organized crime, and terrorism to achieve their objectives. This can destabilize societies, create social unrest, and breed extremism. Moreover, the collusion between mobs and criminal networks can lead to illicit activities such as smuggling, drug trafficking, and arms trade, further endangering national security.

Mob politics undermines the principles of democracy and democratic processes and weaken democratic values. By relying on intimidation and coercion rather than peaceful and inclusive dialogue, mob politics erodes the foundations of democratic governance. It hampers free and fair elections, stifles political participation, and limits the expression of diverse voices within society.

Military installations serve as critical hubs for planning, training, and executing national defense strategies. When mobs target these facilities, they disrupt essential military operations and compromise the country’s defense capabilities. Damage to infrastructure, loss of equipment, and the potential injury or loss of military personnel can have severe consequences, leaving the nation vulnerable to external threats. Attacks on military installations not only impact the military but also have broader national security implications. Mobs aiming to destabilize the state often seize this opportunity to obtain weaponry or sensitive information, posing significant risks to national security. Such attacks may also embolden other hostile actors, such as terrorist organizations or rival nations, to exploit the vulnerabilities exposed by mob violence, further compromising a nation’s security.

Destabilization and political instability ensues mob politics, which target military installations, which can contribute to the overall destabilization and political turmoil within a nation. These attacks often occur in the context of broader socio-political unrest, exploiting existing grievances and exacerbating divisions within society. The resulting instability weakens governance structures, making it harder to address societal challenges and effectively respond to external threats.

Furthermore, mob politics has far reaching impacts on civil-military relations because targeting military installations can strain the delicate balance between the civilian government and the armed forces. Mobs attacking military facilities may perceive the military as an extension of the state’s authority, leading to increased resentment and hostility towards the armed forces. This strained relationship can hinder cooperation and coordination between the military and civilian institutions, further undermining overall governance and national security.

Addressing the challenges posed by mob politics requires a comprehensive approach, including robust law enforcement, effective legal frameworks, and efforts to foster a culture of democratic values and civic engagement. It is crucial to strengthen state institutions, promote transparency, and ensure that the rule of law prevails over mob influence, safeguarding both state institutions and national security.

Therefore, the role of mob politics in attacking military installations goes beyond the immediate physical damage caused. Such acts pose a significant threat to state institutions, national security, and overall stability. To mitigate this threat, governments must prioritize the protection of military installations, enhance intelligence capabilities to detect and prevent such attacks, and address the underlying causes of social unrest. Additionally, fostering strong civil-military relations and promoting a culture of respect for state institutions can help counter the undermining influence of mob politics, safeguarding both national security and the stability of a nation.

Asma Khan Durrani

Asma Khan Durrani is an expert in Strategic Affairs. She is a student of Defense and Strategic Studies. She has done M.Phil. from SPIR Quaid-I-Azam University Islamabad. She has also been published internationally. She tweets @AsmaKhan_47

One thought on “Mob Politics: Imran Khan’s Assault On State Institutions And Dangers To National Security – OpEd

  • May 22, 2023 at 6:39 pm

    If the author is concerned with the rule of law then perhaps they should take note of the court pronouncements on this police action? The army has taken sides, there was never any substantive threat to military effectiveness, this is being done in a military court is a travesty of justice, no less. And has the army sided with the people, no, it has sided with corrupt officials.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *