Identical duel but with dissimilar outcome
PAKISTAN is once again in throes of an identically mischievous duel aimed at regime change.
Allegedly, its perpetuator is the same; USA. It is one of its instruments of policy to evict a government in a country in one guise or other if it refuses to toe its line and follow an independent policy.
Earlier it was in 1977 and the target was Zulfikar Ali Bhutto; a man who resurrected Pakistan after its dismemberment in 1971 and initiated nuclear program to defy Indian nuclear blackmail and neutralize its numerical superiority in a conventional conflict however, it also impinged upon US’s calculus in the region and beyond.
He was threatened point blank to abandon the program but to his lasting honours, he did not waiver.
He stood with supreme cause of Pakistan.This antagonized the US. Besides, Bhutto’s dynamic thought and action plan about Pakistan, Islamic Bloc and third world further fuelled its outrage against him.
Consequently, it plotted his retrenchment from power.For the purpose, Pakistan was flooded with dollars.
PNA; a major alliance of nine opposition parties fell for their petty parochial interests and hitched their wagon along with it.
For COAS at that time, General Zia ul Haq, as quite widely viewed was a merger of his ambition and opportunity to usurp power.
As a result, in words of Maulana Kasur Niazi; a stalwart of Bhutto “aur line cut gai”. His government was overthrown in a military coup and eventually, sent to gallows.
Now again the US is seen scrambling to bring about regime change in Pakistan. Now the target of its anxiety is Imran Khan who has shown courage to challenge its diktats.
The “Absolutely Not” said by him to its demand of military bases in Pakistan is now part of international glossary of terms.
He has passion and resolve to do everything or anything to put Pakistan on the road to progress and results have started pouring in for the better.
Another reason is efforts of Imran Khan for moral and spiritual rearmament of Pakistani people.
Understandably, all this has upset its apple cart. It wanted to keep Pakistan fragile morally, economically and politically for all times to come in order to force it to serve its interests tamely but under Imran Khan, the wheel has turned into opposite direction.
This is unacceptable to the US particularly, in the context of impending great game with China and Russia and the road component of CPEC is the flash point thus, it has mobilized its tentacles in Pakistan to dislodge Imran Khan from power.
This is by no means an exaggeration or fabrication or figment of wild imagination. The enough pointers have surfaced to suggest US’s blatant involvement behind no confidence move to cause demise of Imran Khan in office.
In 1977, USA succeeded in its ulterior scheme however, now, owing to harsh realities in either sense, its success is far from certain rather, it is doomed to fail.
The reasons are obvious and compelling. Pakistan has brought watershed changes in its foreign policy particularly, preferring China over US if it comes to choice between the two and rapprochement/friendship with Russia.
Apart from his passion for independence and national interests, this is not his solo mission rather a collective decision of all who come in the loop.
This is no foretelling that how far reaching negative consequences these would entail if Imran Khan is displaced at the hands of US at this juncture.
This would inflict upon them fatal and mortal blows thus, there is no reason to believe other than that being collective pursuits, also stamped with popular approval, these would be zealously guarded jointly.
The no confidence move is being widely perceived by people a dual between the US and Imran Khan/Pakistan.
They hasten to condemn all who are seen in its support. With no exception, they are clubbed with the US.As opposed to 1977, present time is an age of intensive information.
A word spreads like wild fire.In all probabilities, while casting their lot with them, opposition has sunk its boats.
One may witness its apt manifestation on 27 March when Imran Khan summons people at Islamabad. It is expected to be a record breaking passionate gathering in every sense of the word.
If no confidence move is carried, it could open gates for opposition parties to land in power corridors once more but Pakistan could ill afford another spell of their loot and plunder.
Its thought is frightening. Their foreign linkages are forbidding too and agitate every saner/informed segment of polity to spring into action to block their upward move.
In 1977, Bhutto’s popular base was comprised poor and lower middle class of the society who could raise slogans full throat but could influence events a little.
Contrarily, Imran Khan draws his popular support from middle class and above. Without meaning to prejudice one about anything, their support is relatively weightier.
As compared to 1977, approach of Army is inverse of it. It has worked tirelessly with extra load on their back to prop up democracy in the country since 2008.
Virtually, it is their baby and there is no sign whatsoever that it would be left stranded or abandoned midway.
At present, US’s influence is on downslide. It is waning fast worldwide and the US is increasingly being considered a sinking ship.
Surely, such a situation restricts its manoeuvrability for regime change or other uglier pursuits.
To cap it all, above in view, fate of the US’s venture is foreordained. It could only bite dust.
— The writer, a retired Lt Col, is a senior columnist based in Islamabad.