Uncharted territory or murky waters?

By admin Oct30,2022 #DG ISI #Imran Khan

EDITORIAL: Just the fact that the ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence chief) felt compelled to step out of the shadows — and address a press conference, complete with pointed questions and answers — is proof enough that we have ultimately entered uncharted territory or murky waters. Yet in a way what has happened was inevitable since Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan’s menacing bouncers spared nobody, not even sensitive state institutions, as he fumed at being thrown out of office so unceremoniously. So much so that, it is now pretty clear, he built an elaborate narrative, weaved around fantastic conspiracy theories and traded loyalties, that painted everybody else as traitor, looter, even infidel, and only himself as the victim.

And once the gruesome murder of journalist Arshad Sharif was followed by the usual insinuations from the PTI leadership, and then a lot of very loud noise by its social media followers, implying that Pakistan’s establishment might have had a role in the killing, the military clearly felt that it had to put its foot down and sanitise an out-of-control and extremely dangerous narrative that was changing every day.

A lot of what came out at the presser ought to be embarrassing for PTI, especially Imran Khan, like enticing the army chief with “another extension” to side with him in the no-confidence motion and the army’s final rejection of the foreign conspiracy theory.

Just as expected, it was also mentioned that as Imran lashed out at the military by day, ridiculing the chief with names like ‘Mir Jaffar’ and ‘Mir Sadiq’, he was seeking meetings with them by night and urging them to force an early general election. It also says a lot that President of Pakistan’s office, constitutionally non-partisan, was used to facilitate these meetings.

All this has placed us at a crossroads. Some analysts have begun arguing that PTI’s ‘long march’ is no longer just anti-government, it is also anti-establishment. Yet since Imran admitted in a TV interview that he didn’t think, at least not anymore, that the military was part of the “conspiracy” to oust him but he was cross because it didn’t save him either, the anti-establishment part of this drive owes to the fact that there was no intervention that violated the constitution; which is very new considering Pakistan’s traditional government-army dynamics. This seemingly gives the military the upper hand, which it showed off, albeit reluctantly, at the press conference.

The coming days will bring more revelations, no doubt, which means the political clouds will only darken. The uncertainty caused by the ‘long march’, too, will only add to everybody’s worries. It’s true that the military is the country’s premier institution, and commands across-the-board respect from the state and its people. Its blood, sweat and tears have held the country together through too many crises for anybody to forget any time soon.

And it is also true that Imran Khan has mobilised the masses in a way not seen in many decades; to the point that his followers are only too happy to look the other way even as he often contradicts himself and vitiates the larger national discourse.

Therefore, it is very unfortunate that the most popular political force of the nation is bent upon dragging the powerful military into the centre of the political debate just when the latter is ultimately assuming an apolitical stance.

Perhaps this relationship, which only four years ago triggered Imran Khan’s rise and arguably catapulted him into power, would not have deteriorated so much if PTI had not gone overboard in its reaction to the no-confidence motion. It must now work to change the perception that of all players concerned, it is the one not learning any lessons from bitter experiences.

In this regard, it must not lose sight of what Winston Churchill had famously said: “Those that fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” The country’s highly precarious economic situation in particular does not brook any luxury of undertaking any fascinating journey into uncharted waters.

October 29,2022

Source: https://www.brecorder.com/news/40205869/uncharted-territory-or-murky-waters

By admin

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