Wed, 07 Jun 2023

Islamabad [Pakistan], March 31 (ANI): Pakistan is currently facing a precarious impasse on multiple fronts, encompassing political, economic, security, and human rights issues. More significantly, the ruling Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) coalition has failed to provide the necessary stability that the country desperately needs.

Despite enjoying the explicit support of the powerful military establishment of the country, the Shehbaz Sharif-led coalition has been unable to resolve even the most rudimentary issue in the last one year - former Prime Minister Imran Khan's political movement.

It is unprecedented in Pakistan's 75 years of independence, where an opposition political leader is not succumbing to the combined pressure from the Pakistan army and the government in power. The head-on collision between the two sides is reaching a saturation point and may possibly lead to an anarchic situation in Pakistan.

Imran Khan's massive public rally, or jalsa, in Lahore on March 25, has dealt a significant blow to the confidence of the ruling PDM alliance and its military supporters, who now appear clueless.

Furthermore, Pakistan's judiciary has apparently expressed its support for Imran Khan amidst the ongoing onslaught against him and his party members by government agencies.

Unless Khan is either disqualified or prevented from participating in future elections, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) appears unstoppable in its quest to reclaim power.

In a media interview, Pakistan's Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah expressed his utter frustration against Khan's growing popularity, stating that Imran Khan has transformed politics into enmity and brought it to a point "where either he or the ruling coalition will be eliminated" from the political arena.

Sanaullah said, "When we feel our existence is being threatened, we [Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N)] will go to a point where we will not bother whether a move is democratic or not."The desperation in Sanaullah's remarks is unmistakable. The PML-N and the Sharif brothers are rapidly losing public support in their home province of Punjab.

However, more crucially, there is a growing sense of anger and frustration among local Punjabis towards the Sharifs, which represents a new political reality in the province after Imran Khan's ascent to power in 2018.

Nonetheless, the final death knell for the PML-N's political legitimacy was the contentious removal of Khan and his PTI government through a 'vote of no confidence' last April.

The involvement of the Pakistan army in the process left the public further disillusioned and sparked outrage against the sham democracy in the country.

The law and order situation is seriously deteriorating in Pakistan, as the senior leadership of all political parties continues to heap abuse on institutional heads.

This disturbing trend is stifling activity within the country, except for highly politically charged and polarised supporters who remain active both within and outside of government institutions.

The PML-N leadership regularly attacks the superior judiciary, while the judiciary itself appears to be divided along partisan lines. Many analysts believe that there are divisions within the security establishment of Imran Khan.

Furthermore, overseas PTI supporters in foreign capitals have openly come out in support of Imran Khan and have shared concerns regarding the safety and security of Imran Khan, who faced an assassination attempt last November. For instance, over 500 Pakistani "physicians" in the US signed a letter for US lawmakers, sharing their common concern: the safety of Imran Khan from the state institutions in Pakistan.

Following his ousting from power in last April, Khan has held several rallies demanding national elections be held without delay in Pakistan. At one such rally in November, he was shot in the leg.

Khan has consistently claimed that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif's government and the powerful military establishment are conspiring to either imprison or "assassinate him before the general polls" slated for later this year.

The ongoing conflict between the ruling coalition and Khan recently escalated into violent clashes between PTI supporters and security forces in Islamabad and at his Zaman Park residence in Lahore. The violent visuals of police brutality against Khan and his supporters were freely shared on social media websites.

Furthermore, the ruling alliance has banned some pro-PTI news channels in the country and even stopped airing Khan's interviews and live speeches on TV. More worryingly, the security agencies are illegally abducting PTI workers to weaken Khan's political movement.

Consequently, foreign leaders and human rights groups are now sharing their deep concerns regarding the Pakistani state's draconian actions against the opposition leader. Moreover, the PDM government has filed over 80 judicial cases against Khan, including allegations of corruption and even "terrorism".

However, Khan is skillfully leveraging his "victimhood" narrative against the PDM's "fascist" regime. Notably, he has recently secured bail in several court cases, which has boosted his confidence in further targeting the government. In Lahore, Khan asked "Pakistan's establishment" about their plan to prevent the impending "economic disaster" in the country after disqualifying him.

Khan's call to sacrifice himself for Pakistan has resonated strongly with the masses. It seems unlikely that he will be stopped without bloodshed on the streets of Pakistan. (ANI)

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