Pakistan is currently facing a very serious situation, with rains and floods having led to widespread destruction. The already crisis-ridden economy is under further pressure as a result.
Due to the rapidly changing regional and global situation, Pakistan faces the challenge of tackling complex security issues and, above all, increasing threats to internal stability. Today’s fundamental question for all those concerned about this situation is: what is the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief and former prime minister Imran Khan doing in the name of politics?
Through a propaganda campaign, Imran Khan is busy giving a message to the world that Pakistan does not need aid. He doesn’t realize the suffering and hardship faced by the flood victims.
Leaders and delegations of various countries and international organizations, including the secretary-general of the United Nations, have come to Pakistan to assess the devastation. They all say that they have not seen such a disaster in their lives. UN Secretary-General Guterres also says that Pakistan alone cannot deal with such a big disaster. The whole world should come forward and help Pakistan, but the PTI’s social media trolls are making fake videos and ensuring they go viral, so that the world is convinced not to give aid to Pakistan.
Everyone knows that there are millions of painful stories in the flood-affected areas and human tragedies are constantly rising in these areas. The victims are in urgent need of shelter, food and medicines and a lot of resources will be required to rehabilitate them. Although this is not the time for politics, the nation should – due to the way the PTI is behaving – think about the politics the party is doing in this hour of trouble.
Just a few days ago, in a sad and condemnable incident, the Punjab government of the PTI and PML-Q stopped trucks carrying flour for the flood victims of Sindh at the Sindh-Punjab border. Around 4,500 bags of flour were purchased by the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) Sindh from Punjab and this was known to the Punjab government. Despite this, the flour was not only confiscated but cases were also registered against the truck drivers; it is evident that the PTI does not waste any opportunity to play political tricks.
We have suspended all our other political activities on the instructions of our leaders Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and Asif Ali Zardari and are trying to conduct more relief and rehabilitation work than we can afford. And we are with the people – whether they call us good or bad. If they are angry with us, it means that they have a relationship with us and they expect something from us.
We understand and believe that the problems of the people due to this disaster have magnified and we are determined that we will not rest until the people are rehabilitated. This is because we have a relationship with the people and the focus of our politics is the people. The PTI’s modus operandi is that it shoots videos – planned and scripted. Its politics depends only on false propaganda. The incident that took place in Masjid-e-Nabawi is proof of this.
This is the PTI’s attitude in a national disaster. As far as the economy is concerned, the PTI preferred its politics over the national interest. Imran Khan has tried his best to thwart a relief package to Pakistan. The world knows that the current economic crisis was created by Imran Khan’s government which had signed an agreement with the IMF and then deviated from it. When his government collapsed, Pakistan had reached the stage of economic bankruptcy. The only way to avoid this situation was to get a relief package from the IMF on terms that Imran Khan’s government had signed. But Imran Khan tried to make Pakistan a country like Sri Lanka. Possibly at his behest, the finance ministers of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab – through his former finance minister Shaukat Tarin – wrote to the IMF to say that these two provinces would not be able to pay their share of money to repay the loan. The aim was for the IMF to refuse to issue a relief package for Pakistan.
Not only this, Imran Khan does not even realize the internal and external threats to Pakistan’s security. His party and he himself have been constantly attacking national security institutions and making them controversial. Imran Khan says that the Pakistan Army should not remain neutral and they should bring him to power by political interference. And that if the army does not do so, it will not only be responsible for the damage done to Pakistan, but it will also have to face the ‘wrath of the people’. The PTI has also been threatening the judiciary and declaring in public meetings that it will take action against whichever judge decides against the party. Imran Khan has also made the appointment of the COAS, giving the impression that only a COAS he appoints will be patriotic. Imran Khan’s statement has also evoked a strong reaction from the armed forces of Pakistan, but he is not shying away from his narrative of making institutions controversial.
There are limits to politics, and Imran Khan and his colleagues are crossing all of them. Why is Imran Khan doing this to the country and the nation in this time of trials and tribulations? What is his agenda? The Supreme Court has also advised him to go back to parliament and play his role since the country cannot afford immediate elections at this time.
The writer is the information and transport minister for the government of Sindh.