Curious case of Imran Khan
IMRAN Khan and his fascist hybrid era finally came to an end. The Establishment and the judiciary, finally refused to let him out of the whirlpool of difficulties he had created, one thing is worth considering, in the end, it is Imran Khan, who proved to be his own enemy.
Often termed as the biggest celebrity/philanthropist in Pakistan, Imran Khan had changed from a national hero in cricket to a charismatic politician who, after years of battle, had succeeded in displacing the two entrenched political dynasties that had ruled Pakistan for decades.
The perfunctory departure of cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan, on 10 April 2022, is unparalleled in Pakistan’s political history.
Unlike Benazir Bhutto, who faced no-confidence motion in 1989, IK tried to escape it. The delaying tactics did not bear any fruit as he was informed of the potential ramifications of violating the Supreme Court’s unanimous five-member bench judgment on the vote of no-confidence.
It’s an irony that the kind of courage and enthusiasm which was part and parcel of his cricketing life, seemed missing during his stay in power. Politics in Pakistan is not like “Alice in Wonderland”.
This defeat will teach him a lifelong lesson. Among his various blunders, the Himalayan blunder was handing over Punjab to a novice like Usman Buzdar.
The biggest province of Pakistan, once had active and efficient Chief Ministers like Shahbaz Sharif and Chaudry Pervaiz Ilahi.
Imran Khan tried to run Punjab from Islamabad through his Principal Secretary Azam Khan. When opposition parties were getting momentum, he had to lead from the front, but what happened next was very strange, Usman Buzdar aka “Wasim Akram plus” was sacrificed.
In cricketing term, it was like giving the last over to Salim Jaffer. Against Aussies at Lahore, Salim Jaffer conceded 18 runs and hot favourite Pakistan lost to Aussies by the same margin of 18 runs.
He started to chant anti-American slogans by citing a dubious letter that US wants to get rid of his government, but his words didn’t match his actions.
He met US President Trump in July 2019 and could not hide his excitement, by saying that he has won the World Cup.
After his visit to the United States, he received a warm welcome in Pakistan. Therefore, it was not the case that Imran Khan had been pursuing an anti-American foreign policy from day one.
Even on the occasion of the US withdrawal in Afghanistan, he looked proud that he had played a role in signing the Doha Agreement.
He was expecting a call from Joe Biden, but since Biden did not call him, he looked frustrated with America.
US diplomats have never spoken negatively about relations with Pakistan. But Biden’s decision for not calling Imran was made an issue.
It seems pretty odd that on one hand, Imran Khan teaches and urges the whole world to recognize the Taliban government, on the other hand, he does not have the courage to recognize it.
When Imran-Trump era was in full-swing, then CPEC was almost halted. Later on, when Trump era came to an end, then again started looking towards China. Foreign policy does not work in such a way because this is not a child’s play.
During the rule of Imran Khan, two resolutions against Pakistan were passed in the European Union by a clear majority.
This is also a failure of the foreign policy. Because of this, there are risks that Pakistan will not get GSP Plus status again.
But, Imran Khan, who claims that he know the West even better than West, has done blunders after blunders in every field.
Imran Khan has not been able to pay an official visit to the United Kingdom during his stay as Prime Minister. Although he has lived in the UK, yet he could not get anything from Britain for Pakistan.
When romance with the US ended, then he started looking towards Russia. The situation is that when Russian oil was being sold very cheaply in the market, arch rival India bought it.
Pakistan could not buy Russian oil for fear of sanctions. The visit to Russia was at such an inopportune time that no joint declaration could be made.
He also started chauffeur diplomacy with Arabs. He made fun of Pakistan by driving their cars.
Then in New York, along with Malaysia and Turkey, he announced to counter Islamophobia by establishing TV channels, but when Malaysia called a conference, Khan did not attend it for some unknown fear.
Saudi Arabia threatened us to boycott that conference, otherwise cooperation in various fields would end.
It was also an indicator of Foreign Policy’s failure that we could not go to our own convened conference.
It is not wrong to say that, while he was a player and a captain, nobody questioned his cricketing brain but everybody questions his political acumen.
—The writer is PhD (IR) scholar senior lecturer, DHA Suffa University, Karachi.