ADDRESSING a ‘historic’ rally as part of the efforts to mobilize public opinion to influence the process of no-confidence, Prime Minister Imran Khan alleged that the opposition’s move has its roots in a ‘foreign-funded conspiracy’ hatched against his government for pursuing an independent foreign policy.
To give credence to his claim, the PM displayed a letter before the crowd and volunteered to show its contents off-the-record, adding that he cannot divulge fuller details because of the sensitivity of the issues involved.
Imran Khan also likened the situation facing him with the one experienced by the then Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, who also waved a letter during his visit to the famous Raja Bazar of Rawalpindi during last days of his government telling people that he has been threatened to be made a horrible example for steadfastly pursuing Pakistan’s nuclear programme.
The Prime Minister addressed the gathering for about 100 minutes during which he recounted the achievements of his government, repeated his assertion that the opposition leaders only wanted to get an NRO which he would not give at any cost and used derogatory metaphors for Mian Nawaz Sharif, Mian Shahbaz Sharif, Asif Ali Zardari and JUI(F) leader Maulana Fazlur Rehman.
Most of the lengthy speech was repetition of the old themes and even the ‘conspiracy’ theory was in line with the narrative being built by the top leadership of the PTI to explain the prevailing political situation that has turned against the party because of the move of the opposition, virtual defections and undecided posture of the allies of the Government.
Rumours were rife that the Prime Minister would show his ‘trump card’ before the huge gathering but it turned out to be a letter that the PM showed to the people.
The opposition was quick to dismiss the claims of the PM with Maryam Nawaz questioning whether the US forced the PTI dissidents to ditch the Government.
Leader of the opposition in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif retorted that those coming to power through ‘London Plan’ see conspiracies in every move and Maulana Fazlur Rehman described the letter as ‘fake chits’.
The Prime Minister also alleged that they know about long meetings that MNS is having in London but Maryam responded that meetings of Nawaz are always motivated by interests of the country and the people.
Nothing can be said with certainty about the letter and the nature of the threat or conspiracy until and unless the name of the sender is revealed and the contents are made public but it is a fact that foreign powers have been interfering in the internal affairs of the country ever since its independence.
One must give credit to the Prime Minister for keeping interests of the country foremost in his foreign policy handling as was evident from his interview in which he said ‘Absolutely Not’ to any demand for foreign military bases in Pakistan, visit to the Russian Federation, neutrality on Russia-Ukraine conflict and forceful stand on the issue of Islamophobia.
There might or might not be any foreign linkage to the messy political situation in Pakistan but the government mainly has to blame itself for arriving at this delicate stage of its existence.
The Prime Minister can definitely take credit for increasing revenue collection, exports and foreign exchange reserves but this has, in no way, led to improvement in the overall conditions of the common man, whose real concerns are the non-stop burden of inflation, rising unemployment, lack of developmental activities, rampant corruption at the lower tiers of the administration, street crimes and bad governance.
It is mainly because of the woes of the ordinary citizen that even the allies of the government are finding it difficult to defend themselves in their constituencies and are not willingly lending a helping hand to the government at this critical juncture for fear of backlash of public opinion.
The politics is the name of give and take but the government is neither willing to talk to the opposition nor it is ready to accept demands of its allies terming them as sheer blackmail.
The government is also losing moral grounds when its leaders hint at ‘awakening of the conscience of some MNAs belonging to PML-N and PPP’ ahead of voting on the no-trust motion.
The government can definitely beat the conspiracy, if there is one, by reviewing its strategy and approach.