Standing in front of dozens of thousands of supporters waving flags with his party’s red and green logo, outraged Imran Khan against “foreign conspiracy” to remove him government.
Fans came from all over the country for rally last the weekend that poured into the capital Islamabad, in cars and buses to express your support how khan fights for his political life. “Funding is flowing into Pakistan from abroad. in trying to change governmenthe said to the cheering crowd. “Our people are used”.
On Thursday, he repeated the statement of foreign interference in but live a televised address that said, “America threatened me.” (United States government denies involvement). But for all this bragging, hana problems closer to home. “We’ve seen months of political instability, political recriminations, and economic mismanagement.” says Farzana Sheikh, Research Fellow at Chatham House. “The matter was to come to head”.
When Khan Became Pakistani prime minister in In 2018, he promised to thwart dynastic politics, end corruption and revive economy. Four years later he failed deliver. After the wave of desertion from one’s parliament coalition and his own party – and loss of very important military support – he is expected to lose his parliamentary vote of not sure on Sunday.
The crisis came 30 years after Khan took over Pakistan. cricket team to an incredible victory in world championship 1992. upcoming of in final match against England what a year he famously told his team to “fight like hunted tigers” in pep talk that got away down in sports history. This is a good metaphor for Khansky current approach since he refuses step down in in face of rising pressure.
Khan has a tiny majority in National Assembly of Pakistan; its Pakistan-e-Tehreek Insaaf (PTI) party and this coalition partners had 176 seats in meeting of 342 people. Wednesday a key partner, Muttahid Qaumi Movement (MQM-P), stated that its seven parliamentarians vote with opposition, winning a total of 163 seats. Twelve PTI legislators also it is specified that they will cross floor, which would make it numerically impossible for Khan k win. government appealed to the Supreme Court of the country with a request to invalidate the votes move which can delayconfidence motion.
in last Khan called several major rallies this week of PTI supporters and opposition MPs branded as “traitors”. This in preservation with his brand of aggressively populist, nationalist politics. Many of those who supported him in 2018 were youngurban, middle-class voters – in general conservative demographic in Pakistan – who tired of endemic corruption and stranglehold of dynastic politics.
But despite series of eye-catching promises – for example, a promise to end major corruption in 90 days and create 10 million jobs – Khan failed deliver. with Pakistan economy mired in but debt crisis, rising inflation double numbers and depreciation of the ruble in price against in the dollar he struggled to maintain a wide circulation public support.
These problems not really of his own manufacture; global questions like rising pandemic-related energy costs and supply chain problemshave played their part. But Khan’s appeal of economic policy was disorderly; is he changed its economic team several times in short period of time and put off seeking help from the International Monetary Fund. This $6 billion aid agreed last year led to painful economic reforms that further increased fuel and electricity prices.
Throughout his 26 years in politicsKhan showed that he is ready to change shape in the pursuit of power. Despite his international the image of a playboy and a socialite, he took conservative Islam, for which he received the local nickname “Taliban Khan”. in a reference to his offerings to religious hardliners. In the 2013 election campaign, when the khan really began to gather support en masse, he introduced himself as a fighter against corruption, but in In 2018, he received important political support from established, highly corrupt feudal politicians.
In opposition he resented against oversized role of in military in public life, according to the generals”just not have a vision run country”. But his rise political power in 2018 has a lot to do with military patronage. “Khan made but big deal out of being an outsider, but his close relationship with in military the institution has imposed a different gloss on his populism. says Sheikh.
Pakistan was directly controlled military for rough half of 75 years, and the victory of the khan in 2018 was only second transfer from one democratically elected government to another. But this victory came against the backdrop of a sharp increase in censorship, with widespread allegations of military intervention in service of PTI. During the election campaign news channels were taken off air regulator after broadcasting the speeches of the main opposition parties, while the PTI rallies were broadcast without problems. Every opposition party initially rejected it winasserting vote-rigging.
Once he was in powerKhan did nothing for build bridges, instead the imprisonment of prominent opposition politicians, including two of his predecessors, Nawaz Sharif and Asif Ali Zardari, on allegations of corruption. Khan has since presided over further repression on freedom of speech and political opposition. During his tenure scores of journalists, activists and protesters, including current member of parliament were arrested for sedition or in accordance with anti-terrorism laws.
At rallies, Khan addresses three main opposition parties as “three puppets” or “three mice”. For most of Pakistan history The two dynastic parties, the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), were at odds, but now they have formed an unexpected alliance along with with Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) to overthrow Khan.
Important factor in Khan’s troubles – seeming loss of military support abrupt change in a political dynamic that pushed the opposition to strike. Even when it’s not in direct control of Pakistan, the army is pulling the strings behind scenes, especially on foreign policy and internal security. ” military role there were many more clear and open than for any previous government” says Sheikh. “Khan saw in him a source of strength, not weakness, and flaunted it.
Attitude with in military started to turn sour in October, when the khan resisted the choice of the army for but new head of intelligence service. This is extremely unusual for civil politician to push back on army appointments. The generals were victorious, but fears that Khan might try place faithful assistant in charge of army when the chief role comes up for update this year. “He’s arrogant” says Zia Ur Rehman is a journalist and researcher based in Karachi. “He tried to be something different than the previous one prime ministers, but that was a huge mistake.”
In a fever world of pakistani politics no prime minister ever completed full term. Even if Hana is overthrown, it is unlikely that this will mean the end of his political career. Since he founded PTI in In 1996, Khan was a campaigning politician. He seems the most comfortable in front of crowd of enthusiastic supporters instead of doing more routine and methodical work of government. Khan continued to act like leader of the opposition, despite the fact that prime minister – using rallies to criticize the opposition and even to convey messages to foreign powers”, says Ur Rehman. “His removal give to him new political life.”
When confidence the movement was called Khan information minister Fawad Chaudhry, warned that “one one million” PTI supporters will come to Islamabad on day of in vote and what anyone vote against Khan “will have to pass through these people on them way in as well as out of parliament”. This thinly veiled threat is sinister in context of Pakistan, where political divisions often escalate into violence. Human Rights Watch called on in government “observe the constitution and allow for voting without threats and violence”.
It could be sign of what happens when PTI loses its power on power. Even when he lost mass public Khan didn’t have support problems calling mass rallies across Pakistan. “His deeply reactionary politics resonates on the bands of the country,” says Sheikh. “This brand of politics will survive it. This will be his legacy.”
Samira Shekl – author of Karachi Vice: Life and Death in contested city (Granta)