A snap poll conducted by Gallup Pakistan on April 3 and 4 shows broad support for Prime Minister Imran Khan's decision to seek dissolution of the National Assembly and call fresh elections. Support for the decision is nationwide with 66% in Punjab, 69% in Sindh and 78% in KPK province. It is the strongest among those identifying themselves as PTI voters with 95% of them approving the decision. Among the Opposition parties, 44% of PMLN voters and 50% of PPP voters agree with the decision.
|Source: Gallup Pakistan|
Here are the key findings of the Gallup Pakistan Poll:
1) Widespread support for dissolution of National Assembly in Pakistan
Respondents were asked ‘ PM has dissolved the national assembly and called for fresh elections. Do you Support or are you against this’ To this question a wide majority 68% say they support and 32% say they oppose PM Imran Khan’s move.
|Source: Gallup Pakistan|
2) Majority don’t believe in US Conspiracy to remove Imran Khan, although split exists along party lines.Significant majority 64% responded to this question and say that Imran Khan was being ousted because of inflation and not because of a foreign conspiracy.
3) Public Opinion split over performance of Imran Khan
Respondents were asked ‘ Imran Khan ruled for 3.5 years. Are you satisfied with the performance of their government or not satisfied?
To this question 54% said they are dissatisfied and 46% said they are satisfied’
4) Anti Americanism: Only 1 in 3 consider the US to be a friend
Respondents were asked: Some people think that America is a friend of Pakistan, and some people think it is an enemy. what is your opinion?
Almost 2 in 3 Pakistanis(72%) think US to be an enemy. Anti Americanism was highest among PTI Supporters (80% thought America was an enemy) and lowest among PML-N voters (65%)
The poll included a random sample of 800 households (18+ males and females) interviewed by telephone on April 3 and 4, 2022. Provincial breakdown: 66% Punjab, 18% Sindh, 13% KPK and 4% Balochistan. Urban 34%, rural 64%. Margin of error: +-3-5%, 95% Confidence Level.
People are sick of these traitors and thieves.
The Pakistani public is finally waking up.
اہم ترین نکتہ: حزب اختلاف کو سب مل گیا یعنی عمران خان گئے، الیکشن آ گئے، بزدار گئے وغیرہ مگر ایک بات نہیں ہوئی- خان نے انکی حکومت نہیں بننے دی ورنہ سب کچھ تہس نحس کر دیتے- یہی دل میں کانٹا ہے-اب اگر فوج یا عدلیہ نےانھیں دوبارہ حکومت دے دی اور الیکشن نہ ہویے تو سب کا منہ کالا ہوگا
Oh, boy that's a huge endorsement and support.... No wonder the corrupt opposition is running around screaming.... They are afraid of elections and want to given the power by the establishment by hook or crook ...
Oil,Steel,Cememt,Coal and Gas are at PEAK RATES
EU if annoyed with IMK,could curb Pak exports to EU
Right time to bowl the googly and declare the innings
Let the caretaker cook himself in the stew !
UKR & Russia is the steel export bowl of the world
UKR steel mills are blown up,& the ports are blocked.Russian steel exports are stalled due to SWIFT & the impending EU sanctions on Russian steel.This steel will exit the export market.
EU steel demand will ,& has increased steel prices.On top of that,with rise in oil & gas prices, & gas cut off from Russia,or USE OF LNG BY EU or rationing of gas supply in EU - EU STEEL PRICES WILL RISE FURTHER AND EU STEEL OUTPUT MIGHT REDUCE = RAISING DEMAND FOR STEEL IMPORTS = HIGHER STEEL PRICES !
Prices of HMS Scrap will also rise - due to freight costs & the higher costs of scrap recyclers
On top pf that,with high oil & gas rates - coal prices will also explode & if coal to gas plants take off,coal prices will blast off.Further,if there is a conflict in the SCS - that will block the Niippon & Posco steel exports ,and if PLN makes a move on Aussie = blockage iron ore exports.
SO STEEL & COAL & CEMENT RATES ARE GOING UP.
IMK SHOULD NOT WANT TO BE THE PM,AT THIS JUNCTURE ! FALLING ON THE SWORD,OF THE USA = SIGN OF A MARTYR,IN THE US - AND THIS MARTYR IS ALIVE ! dindooohindoo
Just spoke to some friends in SBP and there is an unusual rush to withdraw Pak Banao certificates due to sovereign default risk. Please do not panic. Arrangements are being made with institutions in China to provide backstop. Please let our overseas friends know.
With oil hitting 130 USD,IMK had no option,but to seek Putin's aid to get discounted oil
There was no other option
The UKR war will go on,for at least 1 month,if all goes well,for Putin = No MIGs and Missiles for UKR.
If MIGs come - then it is,a long haul
Good news for Pak,is that the land of Dindoosthan is low on ammo,and will have no supplies from UKR and Russia.Raw Materials for Military Ordinance,are short and expensive.
On top of that - Brahmos is dead
Putin will seek military supplies from PLA - and so,Putin cannot intervene,in Galwan
WILL PLA AND PAKISTAN,USE THIS AS AN OPPORTUNITY,TO TAKEOVER KASHMIR AND NORTH EAST INDIA ?
THIS IS A 1962 EVENT - which was a missed opportunity,for Pakistan - although Chou En Lai, told the Pakistanis,to move in ! dindooohindoo
#PMLN "Reform" Agenda: Abolish NAB, Repeal PECA, Disallow EVM . شاہد خاقان عباسی نے نیب سمیت کئی قوانین کے خاتمے کا اعلان کردیا. نیب کو ختم کرنا ہے جب تک نیب ہے ملک نہیں چلے گا ... #corruption @ImranKhanPTI #PTI #imrankhanPTI #Pakistan #Reform https://youtu.be/XV7U1vBtY90 via @YouTube
IMK should NOT praise Hindoosthan too much
Perhaps he is trying to awaken the conscience of the Pakistan Politicians - but it will not awaken !
Being a lover of the Indians/Hindoos,can backfire
In any case,whoever has supported the Indians,or reached out to them - was destroyed !
IT IS EASY TO STATE THAT THE 250BP hike and PLR crash is due to the political chaos - and that should ensure the win of IMK - But "India love" is a recipe for disaster.Jiye Jiye Pakistan
Politics is all about narrative. Imran Khan leaving may sound bad now, but it may be good for the long turn.
Rates are rising and we are most likely going to see price rises, high inflation, and currency depreciation across emerging markets. Pakistan would be worse affected given the debt levels and the cost of energy imports. The next Pakistani government is going to face the brunt of this. Combine that with a narrative that US influenced change in the government, PTI would emerge much stronger when the next government falls. This, if the next government doesn't slap a legal charge and disqualify Imran Khan.
Most Indians would only wish good luck to Imran Khan.
BBC's Secunder Kermani on Twitter:
Just met this poor, v emotional woman outside parliament at 3am, saying her heart was broken by Imran Khan’s ousting, and that she would never accept this new “government of thieves”
Imran Khan will likely remain a formidable force in Pakistani politics
#PTI is the one truly national political force representing all 4 provinces of #Pakistan. PTI is also the largest single party in Pakistan's National Assembly. #imrankhanPTI's ouster represents a blow to Pak's national unity #Punjab #KP #Sindh #Balochistan
Watch PTI's Ali Mohammad Khan's fiery speech in Pakistan's national assembly after no-confidence vote:
"My leader will be back with two-thirds majority"
This is indeed a sad day for Pakistan, where the curse of a democratically elected leader unable to complete his/her full term continues.
Pakistan's political crisis: Why Imran Khan's enemies want him out?
by Peter Oborne
6 April 2022
Khan has many strengths as a politician, but in the context of Pakistani politics, one abiding weakness. True to his own nature and the precepts of his deep Islamic faith, he is not corrupt. This quality is not simply unusual in Pakistani politics; it’s a crippling drawback.
Khan’s honesty makes him fundamentally unsuited to the debased methods that are second nature to many successful Pakistani politicians. Last weekend, when Khan’s enemies thought they were about to destroy him, the embattled prime minister simply dissolved parliament, paving the way for elections. This decision left Khan’s opponents in the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) and the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) clutching their pearls in horror.
How outrageous, they are saying, that the future of Pakistan should be decided by the democratic will of the people, rather than sordid deals struck in darkened rooms.
I have been racking my brain to think of a precedent, not just in Pakistan but any country, for Khan’s decision to go to the country at a time of deep crisis. I’ve failed.
In Britain, my own country, how much better would it have been if, back in 1990 Tory party plotters had chosen an election, rather than conspiring in smoke-filled rooms behind closed doors to destroy Margaret Thatcher, one of the greatest prime ministers in British history. It would have been the right thing to do, and so much more democratic. That’s, of course, why the plotters didn’t want an election. They secretly feared that Thatcher was more popular than them, and I dare say they were right.
I have seen neither Bilawal Bhutto Zardari nor Shehbaz Sharif, the leaders of the two main opposition parties aiming to force Khan out, attempt to explain what’s wrong with a popular vote. Both men know that Khan will fight on his record - and that it’s stronger than they admit.
Sharif knows that Khan inherited an economic mess when he took office four years ago - the legacy of egregious mismanagement by his own party, the Pakistan Muslim League. A highly intelligent and gifted man, Shebaz Sharif must be agonisingly aware in private that his party was the architect of the massive debt and gross economic incompetence that Khan is struggling to confront since taking office.
Imran Khan inherited a virtually empty Treasury, a broken tax system and barely two months’ worth of foreign exchange reserves. To deal with Pakistan’s external debts, the Khan government hiked up the prices of power and fuel, bearing most heavily on the poor. Popular anger was inevitable.
He has a more commanding presence on the international stage than any Pakistani leader since Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, the brilliant and charismatic founder of the PPP (and grandfather of Khan’s current opponent, PPP chief Bilawal Bhutto Zardari). Like Ali Bhutto, Khan has worked to shape Pakistan as an independent nation. Ali Bhutto turned Pakistan away from dependence on the US that characterised the long dictatorship of Mohammad Ayub Khan. Imran Khan has sought to do the same, building alliances with China
and Russia, while also reaching out to Muslim states such as Iran, Malaysia and Turkey.
Khan’s critics, both in Pakistan and overseas, have made light of his claims that the US could be responsible for his current political troubles. This attitude reflects either naivety, ignorance or disingenuousness.
While the facts are still obscure, and may never be fully known, history shows that Khan is entirely reasonable in fearing US interference in the country he governs.
Helped by #imrankhanPTI's extensive coverage, ARY
#ARYNews Tops TV Ratings in #Pakistan, beating 2nd ranked #GeoNews by wide margin. @PTIofficial https://nayatel.com/nayateltrending/
How Imran Khan Is Disrupting Pakistan’s Political Economy
While Khan has lost the prime minister’s office, his core base of supporters has not abandoned him.
By Uzair Younus
May 05, 2022
First as a cricketer and now as a politician, Imran Khan has for years perfected the art of drawing in a crowd. A day after he became the first prime minister in Pakistan’s history to be ousted through a vote of no confidence, Khan’s supporters came out in large numbers. Since then, Khan has addressed large crowds in Peshawar, Karachi, and Lahore, showcasing that he remains extremely popular, especially among the urban demographic.
Khan’s ability to draw out these numbers must be viewed as part of a broader global phenomenon, where significant portions of society, especially younger voters, have increasingly rallied to populist leaders.
A core driver of this draw is a rejection of “status quo elites” who have, the argument goes, extracted wealth and benefits for the few at the expense of the many. This belief in the United States drew voters to both Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump, and while their supporters disagreed on policies and ideology, they were united in their anger at status quo elites.
In Chile, a similar movement led to the election of a 36-year-old as president; in India, Narendra Modi became popular amid cries of “there is no alternative,” with millions of young Indians voting for him for a second term despite growing youth unemployment.
In Pakistan, anger at the status quo has been building up for years, starting with the country’s transition to democracy in 2007-08. Khan has been at the center of the movement, consistently railing against corruption and the extraction of wealth in Pakistan’s kleptocratic political economy. This consistency in messaging is a major attraction for those who believe in figures like Khan.
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Another key driver of his popularity has been the urban youth: the median age in Pakistan is about 23 years, meaning that a majority of Pakistanis were born after the country conducted its nuclear tests. This generation is influenced by nationalism and Islam — both disseminated through Pakistan Studies curricula in public and private schools. They grew up in the Musharraf dictatorship, which to this day is considered the “good old times” in middle- and upper-middle-class drawing rooms. The end of the dictatorship was followed by the traumatic years of democratic transition, marked by growing economic uncertainty, chronic power shortages, thousands of deaths at the hands of terrorists, and growing inequality.
During this same period, one corruption scandal after another reinforced the view that civilian elites were unworthy of ruling the country. Media channels and leading television anchors further popularized this narrative, and the Panama Papers’ revelations against the then-ruling establishment were the final nail in the coffin.
Khan harnessed this growing anger and grew his political base as part of his crusade against his political opponents. Growing digitization amplified his message, with digitally native youth volunteering for his party, leveraging social media and democratized information networks to spread his message.
For a country facing another economic crisis, this polarization could not have come at a worse time. The country faces perhaps the greatest risk to internal cohesion since 1971, when East Pakistan broke off to form Bangladesh. Khan’s opponents have yet to demonstrate that they understand the full nature and scope of the crisis confronting the country.
They also do not have a narrative that can effectively push back against Khan, particularly in urban centers. All of this means that political volatility is not going away any time soon, and as polarization continues to grow, increased chaos and upheaval cannot be ruled out.
#Pakistan's police arrest dozens of supporters of ex-PM #imrankhanPTI .
@fawadchaudhry of Tehreek-e-Insaf party, said the police operation began just after midnight and officers were still raiding the houses of supporters late in the day. #Islamabadmarch
The key opposition party led by recently ousted Prime Minister Imran Khan accused police of detaining dozens of its supporters Monday in an attempt to foil a planned protest seeking to force Pakistan’s government into calling early elections.
Fawad Chaudhry, a spokesman for Khan’s Tehreek-e-Insaf party, said the police operation began just after midnight and officers were still raiding the houses of supporters late in the day.
Khan took to Twitter, condemning the arrests of his supporters.
No government official was immediately available for comment.
The development came two days after Khan urged his supporters to gather in Islamabad on Wednesday for a demonstration that he said would continue until the government announced a date for snap elections.
Khan, who served as prime minister for over three and half years, was ousted by a no-confidence vote in parliament in April. He was replaced as prime minister by Shahbaz Sharif.
Khan contends his removal was the result of a U.S.-organized plot. Washington has denied the claim, and Sharif calls it a pack of lies.
Helped by extensive coverage of #imrankhanPTI's #IslamabadLongMarch , ARY
#ARYNews Tops TV Ratings in #Pakistan, beating 2nd ranked #GeoNews by a wide margin.
As I said on April 6, 2022 at 11:38 PM
"IMK SHOULD NOT WANT TO BE THE PM,AT THIS JUNCTURE ! FALLING ON THE SWORD,OF THE USA = SIGN OF A MARTYR,IN THE US - AND THIS MARTYR IS ALIVE !"
PAKISTAN GOVTT HAS JACKED UP OIL RATES,BY RS 30/ LITRE
SBP HAS JACKED UP ROI AND ROI WIL RISE FURTHER
PAKISTAN HAS SCRAPPED RUSSIAN OIL IMPORTS
LNG RATES HAVE SHOT UP
IMK IS HAPPY THAT HE IS OUT AND TAKING POTSHOTS AT THE GOVTT
PAKISTAN IS NOW BACK IN THE US/EU CAMP - WHICH ALSO SUITS IMK ! dindooohindoo
Bilal I Gilani
Anger at Imran Khan govt removal increasing in Pakistan
Majority now angry at removal of PTI govt
The trend is fast changing as the opposite was true before and on the eve of No Confidence motion being passed
report on political weather in Pakistan
Gallup Poll Result: 61% of Pakistanis unhappy, 39% happy with Imran Khan's removal.
Not even 90 days into its tenure, the coalition government is being asked exactly what was the purpose of removing Imran Khan from power rather than let him fall under the weight of the economic woes he faced that were much of his own making? If Federal Minister for Power Khurram Dastgir Khan is to be believed, answering this very question on a private television channel talk show, a larger motivation was political survival than economic repair work.
According to Dastgir, Imran Khan as Prime Minister was gearing up to get senior opposition politicians disqualified for life through NAB and the courts as part of a broader strategy to ‘remain in power for the next fifteen years’. There is no denying that Imran Khan has threatened to ‘lock up everyone’ from Shahbaz Sharif to Asif Ali Zardari downwards, but for that to be taken as anything more than hyperbole by those in the crosshairs to engineer a takedown of the PTI government at a significant and obvious political cost, is a bit of a stretch.
Questioning the authenticity of NAB
What remains to be examined is whether the National Accountability Bureau will revert back to its previous mechanisms of being used as a tool for seeking revenge from political opponents. Or will it be able to live up to its expectations, with respect to ensuring impartiality and fairness in its accountability drive across the board?
The objection (to NAB law amendments 2022 passed by PMLN/PPP Coalition)) is that the law was passed in a matter of minutes without any deliberation or discussion with the Head of the State. It was also noted that the amendment shifts the burden of proof on the prosecution and makes the accountability watchdog’s laws similar to the Code of Criminal Procedure. Making it impossible for prosecutors to prove cases of corruption and abuse of office by state officials. The bill is now expected to be presented before the President once again for his assent. And if he does not give his approval within 10 days, it would be deemed to have been given.
Though some amendments are an improvement with respect to the previous law such as the right to bail and the decriminalization of erroneous executive decisions without strong evidence of corruption. However, at the same time the law has been changed for the benefit of those against whom lawsuits are pending in the superior courts, guaranteeing their acquittal. Making this an evident case involving conflict of interest. For instance, the definition of “asset” has been changed to a great extent. The 1999 Ordinance classified “assets” as belonging to the defendant, including his spouse, relatives, or associates. Whereas the newly amended bill has removed “spouses, relatives, associates” from its description.
ہمارے ملک کو پراپرٹی ڈیلروں سے بچانا ہوگا ،
اسلام آباد ہائی کورٹ کے زیر اہتمام رجیم چینج کانفرنس میں میرا خطاب
Murtaza Ali Shah
One of the original Tabdeeli merchants Ayaz Amir to Imran Khan:
#PTI led by #ImranKhanPTI rules over 160 million #Pakistanis out of 220 million people in #Pakistan. It is truly representative of the majority of the people. PTI should govern #Punjab and #KP well by delivering to the people who have put their faith in the party and its leader.
Maryam Nawaz Sharif's leaked audios of conversation with her uncle PM Shahbaz Sharif:
The first clip purportedly features a conversation between PML-N Vice President Maryam and the premier about Miftah, who has reportedly faced criticism from within the party for taking tough economic measures.
The PML-N vice president has publicly stated that she does not agree with the decision to hike petrol and electricity prices, saying she did not own such decisions, whether her party was in government or not.
"He doesn't take responsibility [...] says strange things on TV which people make fun of him for [...] he doesn't know what he is doing," the voice said to be Maryam's says in the alleged clip.
"He clearly cut corners," the voice said to be PM Shehbaz's is heard as saying.
"Uncle, he doesn't know what he is doing," Maryam purportedly says, as she wishes for the return of PML-N stalwart Ishaq Dar.
Former finance minister Dar is set to return to the country next week to facilitate PM Shehbaz on the economic front.
The second clip allegedly concerns a conversation between the premier, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif, Law Minister Azam Tarar, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah and former NA speaker Ayaz Sadiq about the resignations of PTI lawmakers from the lower house of parliament.
A third clip purportedly features a conversation between Maryam and PM Shehbaz regarding the return of former army chief retired Gen Pervez Musharraf.
The former military ruler’s family publicly confirmed in June that he was “going through a difficult stage" where recovery was not possible while Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director General Maj Gen Babar Iftikhar said Musharraf's family was in contact with the military regarding his planned return.
Discussing this in the alleged clip, the voice alleged to be Maryam's can be heard saying that she "sees this coming", adding that she said the same to Nawaz in a phone call.
"I told him to tweet this. He listened to me immediately," the PML-N vice president allegedly says, adding that the move was "opposed" by several people. She allegedly reasons that showing "magnanimity" in this situation would help the government save face.
She said that there was nothing in the leaks that was similar to the "anti-Pakistan conspiracy of Shaukat Tarin", referring to the audio clips attributed to Tarin regarding the International Monetary Fund programme.
Meanwhile, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah appeared to play down the matter while speaking on Geo News show "Naya Pakistan", saying that nothing definitive could be said about the prime minister house’s security being breached until the leaks were investigated.
"I don't think we should take them so seriously since this is so common," he added.
“If the probe proves that it’s not safe to talk in the prime minister house and somebody has done this [spying] arrangement, then it’s really serious but it is inappropriate to say this without proof.”
Sanaullah did not reject the content of the audios, instead, saying that the current setup's "good governance" was reflected through them.
He also said that the prime minister had taken notice of the leaks and would consult his cabinet on the issue tomorrow, adding that the matter would be sorted out in the next few days.
On the leak where Maryam could allegedly be heard criticising the finance minister, the interior minister said expression of opinion was allowed in democratic and political systems, adding that Ismail was criticised by outsiders so it made no difference if Maryam or some others in the PML-N did so as well.
"What was wrong if Maryam said some of his decisions cost us politically."
Sanaullah also seemingly blamed the finance minister for the recent high fuel adjustment charges, asking why they couldn't have been spread over a period of months.
After Imran Khan’s Ouster, Pakistan Is Going Through an Unprecedented Political Crisis by Ayyaz Mallick
Pakistan’s ousted leader, Imran Khan, is continuing his bid to regain power after surviving an assassination attempt last week. With the traditional parties discredited and divisions opening up in the military, the country is entering uncharted waters.
In late 2021, a row developed between Khan and army chief General Bajwa, who had up to this point been the PTI leader’s chief benefactor and ally. Bajwa attempted to transfer the intelligence chief, Lt General Faiz Hameed, who was the Khan government’s de facto whip and organizational muscle man. Khan dithered and resisted, intimating that he might be planning to appoint Hameed as the next army chief so as to secure another term in power.
However, Bajwa had made up his mind. The opposition sensed an opening as relations soured between the two men, and Khan’s political allies now jumped ship. A vote of no confidence in Pakistan’s parliament forced him out of office. Khan claimed that he was the victim of a US-sponsored regime-change conspiracy on the basis of an unpleasant meeting that Pakistan’s ambassador to Washington had held with a State Department official.
The post-Khan administration brought together political has-beens with their progenies and protégés under the banner of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM). Fearing Khan’s substantial reserves of popularity, they did not call for fresh elections to get over the taint of the highly manipulated 2018 ones. Instead, they took the reins of power so they could enjoy the perks of office, cuddle up to General Bajwa, and have some say in the appointment of the next army chief.
The PDM government has also implemented austerity policies with the same ruthlessness as its predecessor. Cuts to Pakistan’s already threadbare fuel and electricity subsidies have compounded the impact of soaring inflation, which has been fueled by global trends as well as the depreciation of the Pakistani rupee in the name of market adjustment.
As Antonio Gramsci reminds us, a crisis can sometimes last for decades, revealing incurable structural contradictions. The current political turbulence in Pakistan arises from a deep-rooted and long-standing structural crisis of this nature. Only a political force with social depth and programmatic coherence can permanently resolve this crisis by fundamentally transforming the socioeconomic order.
In the absence of such a force, the constant jockeying for position between different factions of the country’s ruling bloc will continue, occasionally resulting in deadlock. The United States is not playing the same role as imperial sponsor or mediator that it did in similar crises of the past, and Pakistan’s relationship with China will not offer a substitute for its leaders.
We thus appear to be hurtling toward the kind of catastrophic equilibrium that Gramsci once warned about, in which large sections of the masses and key pillars of the hegemonic order become detached from their traditional vehicles. Khan, who was the latest (and perhaps last) popular figure working in coordination with the ruling bloc, now seems intractably opposed to it.
With political maneuvers no longer capable of papering over the structural fault lines, we are entering a context where, as Gramsci put it, the field becomes “open for violent solutions, for the activities of unknown forces, represented by charismatic ‘men of destiny.’” Now may be the time of monsters.
The end of the affair: How Imran Khan went from the Pakistan Army’s saviour to its nemesis
The army's headquarters, General Headquarters (GHQ), probably the most secure place in Pakistan, was breached and people trampled on the signboards with military logos.
A senior general's house in Lahore was ransacked - Khan's supporters videoed themselves while setting his furniture and cars on fire. One protester walked away wearing the general's uniform, another made away with his pet peacock.
It had all the symbols of a revolution, except that it wasn't. Imran Khan was first loved by the army, then shunned by them, now his supporters were settling their scores. It was less of a revolution and more of a lovers' spat.
It's almost a rite of passage for every prime minister to fall out with the Pakistan army.
The country's first elected Prime Minister, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, was hanged, his daughter Benazir Bhutto was dismissed twice as a prime minister and her assassination, by a teenage suicide bomber, was never fully investigated. Nawaz Sharif was dismissed, jailed, exiled - now again in exile, he rules by proxy via his younger brother Shehbaz, but still can't return to the country.
After Imran Khan's arrest his supporters did what no mainstream political force has done before. Instead of taking to the streets in protest, they invaded the cantonment areas and showed the citizens how Pakistani generals live: in huge mansions with swimming pools and acres of lawns where peacocks roam.
Just before he was picked up, Khan singled out Pakistan Army's chief of staff General Asim Munir as the man trying to crush his political party.
Before that he had called the former army chief General Bajwa, who was instrumental in bringing and sustaining him in power, a traitor. He also named an ISI general for being responsible for a failed assassination on him. He and his supporters repeatedly called the accused general Dirty Harry in public rallies.
Many Pakistani politicians in the past have named and shamed the army as an institution but Pakistanis are not used to seeing the images of a Corps Commander's house on fire, women protesters rattling the gates of GHQ, and the statues of decorated soldiers being toppled.
This was exactly what the current government, a coalition of almost all the political parties opposed to Khan, needed to hit back.
The government has been trying to get out of an impending national election, which according to many opinion polls Khan is likely to win. Now many government politicians are calling for an outright ban on his party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) - its name means Movement for Justice.
In the past, reprisals against politicians who have taken on the army have been swift.
Ali Wazir, an elected assembly member who called out the army's sympathies for the Taliban, was in jail for two years and was not even allowed to attend the National Assembly. Thousands of political workers from Balochistan have been forcibly disappeared and no Pakistani court or mainstream political party is interested in their plight.
So how come Imran Khan, despite facing dozens of charges, is still roaming free?
The perception is that he has polarised the establishment itself. There are officers and their families within the army who are enamoured by him. There is the judiciary which has been extending his bail. After spending one day in a lock-up, Pakistan's highest judge called him to court, said "happy to see you", and put him in a state guest house. The next day another judge released him.
Imran Khan has won over a massive constituency in Pakistan that abhorred politics and politicians before he came along. His message of clean governance and justice has popular appeal - although when Khan was in power corruption actually increased and he put many of his political opponents in jail.
What's behind the mass exodus of senior figures from Imran Khan's party?
I spoke to a number of politicians who have publicly quit:
Asked one if a carrot or stick was used?
"It was all stick"
They said there were threats to disappear them & references to their family's safety
Pakistan’s New Middle Class
Neo Pei En, Phedra, Amit Ranjan
15 December 2022
New Middle Class
The new middle class is distinct from the old middle class. Its members work in mid-level positions, often in the private sector or have families making money through semi-skilled jobs in the Middle East or North America. They rose mainly during Musharraf’s rule, whose economic reforms allowed many to join the middle class though his subsequent actions disillusioned them. In 2008, more than 50 per cent of Pakistanis lived in towns of more than 5,000 people or more – this increasing urbanisation indicates most of the middle class could be found in urban areas.
This new middle class is also evolving as it uses social media to interact with the outside world more. It is “a global pioneer in digitally fuelled amplification of protests” and has the power to take down governments. Currently, its identity is diversifying with the additional mix of freelancers and gig workers. The ease of accessing information with the rise of the internet contributed to the middle class’ increased connectivity with the world through digital means. This would, therefore, continue to have an effect on the Pakistani middle class. It may lead to new developments as protests are now initiated online and can reach more people instantaneously, which is a great way to swiftly gather a large following.
As is seen in many countries, including Pakistan, there is a global consensus that the rise of new information and technologies has changed the political arena. With heightened access to the internet and unrestricted information, the middle class, particularly the youths, are likely to receive more information and be mobilised from such online platforms that would influence their political views. This can be seen from the throngs of middle-class youths that support Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), who have been mobilised by the PTI through digital media both in the past and in the present. The PTI’s ability to use social media platforms, broadcast videos and initiate blog postings have led them to successfully attract the viewership of the youths and the middle class. The evolution of the new middle class, which has also included increased access to the internet, combined with the political parties’ deft use of digital media, will change how political parties function in Pakistan in the long run.
Further, other factors, such as Imran’s populist politics, may have a part to play in galvanising apolitical youths. With their contempt for politicians of the past and their corrupt ways, the new middle class and youths threw their support behind Imran for his promises to implement large-scale political change and his stand against status quo politics. The effects of this support in pushing Imran back to being the leader of Pakistan remain to be seen. Given their fervent support for Imran and his politics, the middle class is likely to have a role to play if that happens.
Over the course of Pakistan’s history, the middle class has seen itself morphing, transiting from the old to one that now includes the new middle class. The new middle class appears to subscribe to a slightly different set of religious values and leadership compared to the old middle class. The identities and aspirations of the new middle class, along with their engagement in Pakistani civil society, may continue to change as they grow in size and influence. In the contemporary times, many in this new middle class viewed the old leaders as corrupt politicians who have damaged the country. In this regard, Imran’s pledge to fight corruption and his vow to create a Naya Pakistan (new Pakistan) are directly responding to the imperatives of the new middle class. As a result, a sizeable portion of the middle class supports him, which could trigger political changes and restore Imran to power.
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