Contradictions and Falsehood in Political Discourse | By Zulqifal Ahmad

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Contradictions and Falsehood in Political Discourse

While the military’s repeated distancing from politics in itself is admission of its earlier involvement, nevertheless, it’s a good beginning. However, the trouble for Armed Forces is far from over. We still find dragging of the Armed Forces into politics, which cautions that unsubstantiated statements by politicians and others are “extremely damaging” for the country.

Recently there have been intensified and deliberate attempts to drag the Pakistan Armed Forces and their leadership in the ongoing political discourse in the country. These attempts are manifested through direct, insinuated or nuanced references to the Armed Forces as well as their senior leadership, made by political leaders, few journalists and analysts on public forums and various communication platforms, most significantly the Social Media.

Such discourses have triggered Social Media – an act which is absolutely dangerous as it is a tacit attempt to augment the “enemy’s strongand much awaited desire”of creating a wedge between the Pakistani masses and the Armed Forces. Army stated that such efforts have been flayed in the past and will be smashed now and in future as well.

It is unfortunate that the former Prime Minister Imran Khan has also kept targeting the military after his ouster, although in a subtle manner, but through playing with the emotions of the nation as a whole.Such attempts by him are doing nothing other than “polarizing” the masses and “dividing the country”. Such proclamations by Imran Khan have now forced the intellectuals and sane thinkers to reason if his previous pro-establishment “fascia” was just an “eye wash” or a “deception” to gain sympathies of the general masses who die-heartily love the Armed Forces. He in the real sense is poisoning the minds of the country’s masses by taking advantage of his “Forrest Gump” image.

Imran Khan is hiding behind conspiracy rhetoric to conceal his failure in governance that actually lead to his removal from the power through legitimate political process. Hisveiled pointing towards the Armed Forces and the establishment declaring them the local abettors of his ouster as a result of a “so called US intrigue” is further widening the societal divide in the country.

Imran Khan is confusing the nations through contradictory statements, sometimes supporting the Armed Forces by saying. “Army is more important than me” and at another time lashing its leadership for being “neutral”. Khan’s criticism over establishment for being neutral is beyond understanding, what is his intuition behind pressing the Armed Forces to cross their constitutional role and indulge into politics? If the Armed Forces have decided to stay out of politics, a factor that he had been supporting himself during his rule, why is he pushing the Armed Forces into the same mess again? By dragging security institutions into dirty politics, he is actuallydamaging the sanctity and institutional legacy of the Armed Forces. Military officers and men are engaged in the war against terrorism and arecommitted at borders. Imran Khan’s effortto involve them in politics is enemy’s agenda to divert Army’s attention from security matters.

Then moving a step forward from mocking Armed Forces for being “neutral”, Imran Khan directly challenged state institutions using the metaphor of “Mir Jaffar” provoking his supporters tobuy this narrative in an attempt to develop cracks between masses and Armed Forces and also within the Armed Forces but disregarding that the real power of the state institutions lies in the “Unity of Command”. Such politics also tend to lower the morale of the military outfit and hence extremely perilous. He should rather come out of his self-centered approach and practically uphold his stated stance that, “Army is more important than him”.

Imran Khan’s 2018 campaign relied on a promise to make the country’s economy work for the poor by ending corruption and providing employment. Three and a half years later, inflation in Pakistan was the highest of any country in South Asia, and citizens were struggling to make ends meet. Positive economic indicators that Imran Khan had been claiming were doing no good to bring the life of a poor Pakistani any better. If Imran Khan was competent enough to draw Pakistan out of the economic crisis, he would have not been ousted through an unprecedented no-confidence motion.

Khan came to power on the narrative of eradicating corruption, however, instead of accepting his failure in doing so, he is projecting that if establishment wanted then NAB and judiciary could have punished thieves. Pakistan’s ranking on Transparency International Corruption Index declined by sixteen places in January 2022 report.

Imran Khan can be termed as a classic case of a personality with “inflated ego” which means “an exaggerated estimate of your own value and importance” or “an attitude of superiority which conceals actual feelings of inferiority and failure”. He keeps bragging about his successes during his cricket carrier every now and then and also his accomplishments in establishing cancer hospital. However, his successes in certain fields are not a certification that he would also be perfect in governance and political stability matters of the country.The most serious aspect of an inflated ego is that such leaders only believe what they want to believe and relegate aspects that they do not want to hear or accept.

Rather than blaming security establishment for his removal, Khan must hold an introspection of his own mistakes and failures. Armed Forces are befittingly performing their constitutional role in both war and peace and such assertions by Imran Khan and else are extremely dangerous to institutional legacy.