Thursday November 30, 2023

From IK’s ‘meeting’ to growing division within PML-N

September 17, 2022
Imran Khan (R) Shehbaz Sharif. —File Photo
 Imran Khan (R) Shehbaz Sharif. —File Photo

ISLAMABAD: What Imran Khan is frustratingly trying to get will not be delivered to him despite his recent meeting, being discussed on social media.

Shehbaz Sharif government has not performed as yet and disappointed many even in his own party but going into the elections immediately as is desired by Imran Khan will further worsen the economic situation of the country.

Background discussions reveal President Dr Arif Alvi has the realisation of how important it is for the political leadership to sit under one roof and discuss the economy and elections. However, the greatest challenge remains how to make Imran Khan sit with the ruling political leadership.

Dr Alvi does not enjoy enough support from within the PTI to influence Imran Khan, who is not ready to talk with the government on economy as the first and foremost priority. These days Khan repeatedly says that economic stability will come with political stability and that for political stability fresh election is the only way forward. Many others do not agree with him.

Eversince his ouster from the office of Prime Minister, Imran Khan’s main focushas been to pressurise the military establishment to remove the ruling coalition and hold early elections for Khan’s return to power. During the initial weeks of the present government, there were chances of early elections and the powers that be were also keen for it but later Khan’s aggressive policy and PTI social media’s notorious campaigns proved counter-effective and damaging.

What Khan does not realise is that despite his popularity, he has lost the trust of those who matter. In his fury and frustration, Khan has become both unpredictable and dangerous. If Shehbaz Gill’s statement is considered as crossing the red-lines like never before, the Shaukat Tareen episode is seen as the case of “high treason”. Adding insult to the injury, Khan has politicised the next army chief appointment with an irresponsible statement.

With this background, Imran Khan invites the establishment to help him remove the government and hold elections in a few months’ time. According to a source, the Imran Khan “project” should serve as the hard lesson for the establishment to stay away from politics and not repeat the past mistakes. What Imran seeks is the repetition of past mistakes for which the establishment is not ready.

November will likely see a key change in the establishment but the policy of “neutrality” is expected to continue. Without getting the support of the establishment despite his all-pressure tactics, Imran Khan is now hinting at using his political muscle in his effort to remove the Shehbaz Sharif government. But the question remains whether with street power and public agitation he can oust the government.

Meanwhile, the PMLN hopes to see a change in Punjab. “We may see the same engine with bogies changed,” a source said, explaining that Pervez Elahi may stay as Chief Minister but the PTI’s support is replaced by the PMLN. Interestingly the PMLN also appears divided. The one led by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif is comfortable with the powers that be but Nawaz Sharif, Ishaq Dar, Maryam and their “trusted” ones in the party complain of non-availability of level playing field for the Nawaz camp.

While different political parties and the camps within these parties are keenly following their vested political interests, the country’s economic situation is really worrisome. Independent observers are clueless how and who can make the politicians sit together under one roof to discuss the economy and then elections.