Political game of highest stakes
IMMEDIATELY after the failed assassination attempt in Wazirabad Imran Khan the former Prime Minister in his very first appearance on national TV blamed the Prime Minster, the Home Minister and a senior officer of the ISI for plotting and executing this attempt on his life during his now famous long march to besiege Islamabad.
He also called on his supporters and party workers to launch a country-wide protest movement and continue this protest until all the three named individuals resign from their official posts and he also mentioned that the arrested person is not really the main culprit and the attack on his life is not the act of an individual and the three named individuals in his opinion are the real masterminds behind the conspiracy to assassinate him.
He called off the long march and then announced a fresh date for continuing the march and the PTI will now be on the GT road for the acceptance of their demands.
Imran Khan claims to have based his allegations on the basis of some inside information provided to him by his supporters in the Establishment and this gives rise to some serious and alarming questions about the state of affairs in the country.
The Government of Shehbaz Sharif has very vehemently rejected the claims of Imran Khan as false, untrue and baseless and the ISPR also issued a strong rejoinder to reject the claims of Imran Khan.
The statement said that no one would be allowed to defame the institution or its soldiers with impunity: “baseless and irresponsible allegations by Chairman PTI against the institution and particularly a senior army officer are absolutely unacceptable and uncalled-for”.
It added that the “baseless allegations hurled at the institution/officials today by Imran Khan are highly regrettable and strongly condemned. No one will be allowed to defame the institution or its soldiers with impunity.
” The charge-sheet by Imran Khan and the immediate strong rejoinder by the army spokesperson are clear indication that the Establishment and the PTI are now headed for a showdown and in the absence of any dialogue the political climate is now heating up to dangerous levels and going towards a chaotic volatile condition.
Pakistani society of today is a highly polarized society and all the national institutions appear to be in a state of chaos and shambles.
Even 75 years after independence it has not been possible to uproot political instability. History repeats itself and the present political upheaval appears to be a repeat of the political crisis and chaos of 1971 that led to the disintegration of the country and the bloody birth of Bangladesh.
The present onslaught unleashed by Imran Khan has resulted in a very intense conflict between the Establishment and the PTI, something unique and different in all our history.
This conflict is now like a struggle for survival and with each passing day the crisis is reaching dangerous heights. The national economy depends totally on foreign loans and grants.
It is not possible that a nation of 220 million could survive with this political and economic crisis resulting in political instability and avoid an economic melt-down or a sovereign default leading to a condition like the recent happenings in Sri Lanka.
Because of the worsening security, conditions terrorism has raised its ugly head once again evident from the spate of terrorist attacks on the security agencies of the country.
The recent attack on Imran Khan should be condemned strongly and the present politics of hate and vendettas in all its forms and manifestations should be discouraged by all political and Islamic leaders at all levels and all forums.
The present state of affairs could very easily tear this country apart and it is a serious danger to the very existence of the country.
The urgent and serious need of the time is that the political leaders of the country should immediately launch a damage control exercise and save the country from a manmade disaster.
Imran Khan and the PDM leaders should immediately try to reconcile and adopt more tolerant attitude to ensure the continuation of democratic institutions only then can this nation hope for development and prosperity.
This country just cannot stand another tragedy like the judicial murder of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, the assassination of Benazir Bhutto or the terrible religiously motivated murder of Salman Taseer.
The assassination attempt on Imran Khan has to be investigated/must be investigated to pin point the real perpetrators of this vile deed.
Elimination of top political leaders from the country will result in the descent of this country into chaos and will open the doors for oppressive and brutal dictators.
This country is in immediate need of a democratically elected competent secular regime with a vision and foresight to take us out of this economic quagmire.
Today we are threatened with a possible military intervention due to the political unrest. If that happens it could prove to be the proverbial last nail in the coffin of the country.
If the current state of affairs continues longer it will inflict a greater wound on the struggling economy and increase the hardships of common citizen and make Pakistan even more ungovernable.
—The writer is Professor of History, based in Islamabad.