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Sunday October 02, 2022

On the brink : The Friday Column

August 26, 2022


Pakistan is being pushed to the brink. It may not be wrong to presume that it is well-nigh there, staring down into the abyss. The sordid happenings of the last few days lend further credence to the assumption that this push is relentless with little attention paid to the consequences that it is likely to generate.

These fatalistic thoughts have been lurking for a long time, but one imagined that the ultimate security and stability of the state would somehow not be compromised, and one would stop before reaching the tipping point. But no, we were wrong. That point has long been crossed and there is no diminishing the lustful indulgences of those who are bent on sacrificing the state to save and secure their political futures. They are the ones who have been placed in positions of power today to shape and reshape the laws of the land to win reprieve from commission of grave crimes.

Pakistani politics owes it to Imran Khan to challenge the decrepit hold of the status-quo elite in the country. This had never happened before as the roots of these mafias were dug in deep and they were able to force their way through even in times of apparently infallible dictators who would cleanse their roster of crimes and gift them a clean slate to start all over again. General Musharraf’s NRO for Benazir and the Sharifs is a classic example of compromising the interests of the state under pressure from forces which prefer to deal with corrupt leaderships in the country to manipulate them to serve their stakes. Expectedly, post Musharraf, it is the same coterie of politicians that came back to rule and let loose a spree of loot and plunder which has few parallels in the annals of corruption perpetrated previously in the country.

It was also during these times that one heard of the Memogate and DawnLeaks scandals. The former led to the termination of the services of the then serving ambassador in the US and the latter generated immense embarrassment and left lasting marks on the national psyche in terms of there being nothing that the status-quo elite would not do to secure their hold on the levers of power. The core reason why this heinous game plan could not be brought to an end was that the criminals remained beyond the ambit of the law as they had the power and resources to bend justice their way. This was part of their scheme of rendering the institutions corrupt and dysfunctional to eliminate the last vestiges of possible resistance to perpetration of their vile and wicked agendas.

During these gory days, one was well within one’s right to think that such a rule would likely become a norm in the country which neither had the writ nor the attenuating lawful mandate to change it. A sense of resignation reigned which forced people to contrive their own personal recipes to have their jobs done. Of course, there was no legality to such pursuits. Thus, the entire state edifice stood corrupted with no crevice left for a whiff of fresh air to filter in.

These were the times when Khan came to the stage with a firm intent to bring about a substantive change. In doing so, he did not have an option but to challenge the mafias and bring them within the ambit of the law so that the tradition of some being more equal than others could be eliminated. This was tantamount to a threat to the very survival of the status-quo elite whose political agenda was rooted in pursuing and promoting corrupt practices. They tried all their tricks to make Khan change his approach and strike a compromise.

But Khan was made of a different mettle. His mission was to help transform Pakistan into a welfare state dedicated to the uplift of its impoverished communities. Simultaneously, he wanted it to be recognized at the international stage as a sovereign state, free to pursue policies that suited its core interests, and which brought relief to its people. Now, this clashed with those that have always treated Pakistan as a client state serving their interests and forever remaining dependent on their largesse for its survival. There is a long history of servile bonds that we nurtured with these forces, rendering Pakistan’s interests subservient to their diktat, thus bringing untold harm to its inherent interests which every state is constitutionally and legally bound to safeguarding.

The tipping point came when Khan started shaping an independent foreign policy for Pakistan to bring it out of a deepening quagmire that it had been stuck in through pursuing a patently servile approach through decades. That raised alarm bells for the traditional beneficiaries and their local collaborators. A plan was hatched to remove him. They thought that, because of a host of problems including the consequences of the pandemic and sharp inflationary trends, he would be forgotten when relieved of power.

That is where it all went wrong. As per his own projection, he became far more powerful out of power than he ever was sitting in the prime minister’s house. People in hundreds of thousands converged around his mission by thronging every rally he addressed and every new initiative that he announced. It was like the entire country was at his beck and call. He virtually won every seat where elections have been held since his ouster, be these in the heart of Punjab, Karachi, or other parts of the country.

He literally obliterated the political opposition in the process. That is when they thought that it was no longer possible for them to battle him in the political arena. So the fascist fangs of the ruling criminal cabal came out in their most brutal entirety to eliminate him from the scene by taking recourse to draconian measures. The atrocities committed on May 25 on the participants of the long march and the fake and fabricated cases registered against him are part of this sinister plan to have him disqualified from public office, the most ludicrous being charging him with terrorism. In the words of Euripidés, “those whom the gods wish to destroy, they first make mad”.

Khan is a larger-than-life persona. He is a courageous leader bearing impeccable qualities who is committed to asserting Pakistan’s freedom. His vast support base stretches to all parts of the country and his stature is acknowledged internationally. The challenge is to bring Pakistan back from the brink. Only a person with legitimate people’s mandate can do it. That person is Imran Khan. It is onward to early, free and fair elections.

The writer is a political and security strategist and the founder of the Regional Peace Institute in Islamabad.

He tweets @RaoofHasan

Comments

    Ijaz Durrani commented a month ago

    “If a party stands for nothing but reelection it indeed stands for nothing.” ― William F. Weld

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