Why no-confidence in Imran Khan
THE final act in the political drama has begun. Imran Khan has sacrificed his favourite Usman Buzdar in a final bid to save the floundering ship of his rule in Pakistan.
Baluchistan Awami Party has declared their allegiance to the combined opposition and there is a split in the ranks of the PML (Q) after the selection of Chaudhry Pervez Elahi as the Chief Minister Punjab, Tariq Bashir Cheema has declared his intention to support the no-confidence motion.
The MQM and the dissident groups of Jahangir Tarin and Alim Khan are still sitting on the fence, the political climate is still murky as in the words of Mao Dze Dong “Everything under heaven is in utter chaos.
The situation is excellent. ” Imran Khan swept to victory in 2018 and declared, “We will run Pakistan like it has never been run before” Mr.
Khan did win a simple majority in the House and formed a coalition government with the help of the PML (Q), MQM, BAP and a few others.
The PTI majority in the House was slimmer than the majority of any of the Prime Ministers in the previous decade.
Imran Khan started his rule with the utopian dream of Riasat-i-Madinah and unrealistic promises of rooting out corruption, ending unemployment, across-the-board accountability, housing for the poor, justice for all and many promises for building a new Pakistan.
Almost four years down later the dream of a new Pakistan turned into nightmare and now the captain of a floundering Titanic called the PTI is fighting a desperate battle to survive the onslaught of a parliamentary war in the form of a no- confidence motion.
How did it come to this? Why has the dream of a new Pakistan gone sour? There is no simple answer but the fact is this government has failed to deliver and has been a source of a great disappointment for its followers.
Immediately after taking over Imran Khan appointed his favourite Usman Buzdar as the chief minister of the most important province of Pakistan Punjab.
Even by the standards of the murky politics of Pakistan this choice came as a rude shock and ignited many rumours.
Buzdar, former member of PML (N) and PML (Q), had jumped on the PTI bandwagon as late as the eve of the 2018 general election and this choice of Mr.Khan was nothing short of a bolt from the blue.
First signs of dissent in the party appeared when close confidants and diehard supporters of the PTI disagreed and protested angrily on this decision of the party leader, but Imran Khan refused to change his decision and continued to justify his choice of the unknown Buzdar who he called Wasim Akram plus.
Incompetence and mismanagement have been the fate of Punjab during the last three and a half years.
Seven chiefs of Police have been changed that forced the resignation of Nasir Khan Durrani who had spearheaded the PTI police reforms in KP and was appointed in Punjab for the same purpose.
The Commission of inquiry held Mr Buzdar responsible for allowing an Rs.2.9 billion subsidy which was totally unjustified.
Cases were registered against the CM of Punjab on a number of allegations starting with graft payments for liquor licenses, illegal land allotments and his Principal Secretary came under investigation for assets beyond means.
Just a few months after this appointment, cracks appeared in the party with the formation of forward blocks led by leading stalwarts of the PTI namely Jahangir Tarin and Aleem Khan who refused to accept anything except the removal of Buzdar.
All the protests, requests and pleadings from his own party workers, the bureaucracy, the establishment or the voters fell on deaf ears and Imran Khan remained adamant to retain Buzdar as the chief executive in Punjab.
The hybrid regime of Imran Khan took office with the utopian dream of Riasat-i-Madinah and a number of blunders such as the appointment of Usman Buzdar.
The economic front has been the weakest area of this regime. Imran Khan had made tall claims about the competence of his economic managers and Asad Omar had been promoted as the genius who will pull the country out of all the economic problems who was inevitably sacked from his post within a year, to be followed by Hafiz Sheikh who too lost his job after his defeat in the Senate elections.
The economic managers failed to stop the slide of the rupee against the dollar, prices kept rising and no relief was provided to the common man.
The Achilles heel of the PTI has been its incompetence and utter failure to control inflation and this curse will not go away soon because of the war in Europe and the consequent price increase in the international oil market.
The government performance has been pathetic and it is crystal clear now especially in the economy management.
It is no surprise that Imran’s party members have abandoned him and it appears that the powers behind the throne who resuscitated him so long to survive are also running for cover.
—The writer is Professor of History, based in Islamabad.