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Pakistan: Imran Khan’s Low-Grade Tactics – OpEd

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It was unanimously decided at a recent meeting of the coalition parties in the federal government, that the coalition government of Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif, formed after the success of the no-confidence motion, would complete its constitutional and legal term and the next elections would be held on time, that will be in August next year. What will be the reaction of former Prime Minister Imran Khan? It is evident to all. He is holding large-scale rallies on an almost daily basis on the one-point agenda of ‘immediate elections’, in which he urged the audience to march towards Islamabad on 25th March. He had earlier estimated around 2 million participants in the march but seeing the boom of rallies, he started preparing more than 3 million people for Islamabad instead of 2 million.

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Now, after the announcement of the government led by Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif that it will complete its constitutional term regardless of Imran Khan’s meetings, Imran Khan may ask for more supporters to reach Islamabad. However, the leaders of the coalition parties in the government have decided to do, what a legitimate, constitutional and legal government should do. Some people might interpret it as the lust for power of the Sharifs, the desire to cling to the chair and enjoy the vicious circle of the government, but a government consisting of public representatives under the law, using all the powers of the state for the welfare of the people is entrusted, why should they neglect their duties? And why get themselves separate from power simply because the opposition is threatening the crowd with sentimental slogans?

Former Federal Minister for Information Fawad Chaudhry has demanded that both the federal and Punjab provincial governments resign as they have lost a majority in their respective houses. Can the former federal minister explain why he did not remember this when his government had lost its majority in the National Assembly.

The decision of the coalition parties came at a time when the same voice was coming from all sides that the only way out of the current crisis, which is the result of Imran Khan’s big rallies, is immediate elections. It may be recalled that the largest party in the government, the PML-N, had from the outset stated that after the success of the no-confidence motion, the assemblies would be dissolved and immediate elections would be held, they would guarantee transparency and impartiality. 

The opposition alliance is also aware that at a time when the country’s economic situation is very bad and Imran Khan is taking full advantage of this, the public opinion against the Shahbaz government seems to be swaying the public opinion in its favor. Most importantly, even if the immediate election is announced while acknowledging Imran Khan’s demand, what guarantee is there that Imran Khan will accept the results? From the political attitude that has emerged so far, almost all influential circles have concluded that just as fish cannot survive without water, so Khan cannot live without assuming power. The conclusion so far has been drawn from the statements made by PTI through political rallies and social media that only Imran Khan has the right to power and no party in the opposition is entitled to it on its own. This has been the focus of Imran Khan’s political thinking since 2014.

The elections of 2013 in the eyes of domestic and foreign observers, were the cleanest, most transparent, and impartial of all elections since the restoration of democracy in 1988. Therefore, the government formed under the leadership of Mian Nawaz Sharif was in all respects a legitimate, representative and constitutional government, but Imran Khan refused to recognize it and accused it of rigging the 2013 elections and rigging its mandate.

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Just one year after the elections, in 2014, Imran Khan rallied from Lahore to Islamabad in the name of the “Independence March” against the Nawaz Sharif government and staged a 126-day sit-in in the federal capital. After that, Nawaz Sharif was ousted from the PM’s post and disqualified for life. The same story is going to be repeated again but in the presence of some new internal and external factors. This is a sad but true fact that the self-centered politics of former Prime Minister Imran Khan is damaging the already devastated economy of Pakistan. Being an oxford graduated politician, he must not adopt such type of low-grade tactics to get fame instead he must bring harmony to the political sphere of Pakistan.    

*Sehrish Khan is a freelancer and media activist. She writes on political developments and security issues with special focus on South Asia and the region.

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