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EditorialMinus One formula

Minus One formula

The notion of disqualifying former premier Imran Khan is in the air. Imran Khan has been carrying out rallies all over the country and even the devastating floods did not stop him from carrying on with his mission. He has spelt out his agenda in many rallies which is of ‘Haqeeqi Azaadi’ from what he calls an imported government. As seen in many big and small cities of Pakistan, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf or Imran Khan, for that matter, has garnered heaps of support from the general public. Currently, the former prime minister is being summoned to court in a case of contempt. This may lead to his disqualification as it led to the disqualification of his arch nemesis, the three-time prime minister Nawaz Sharif.

Pakistan has seen many of its political figures get ousted with the ‘Minus One Formula’. The formula itself is not one that can be found in political science books, nor can many renowned political scientists explain what it means. However, in Pakistan, everyone who has even a minute amount of knowledge of the political system can guess what it means as it is like a deep-rooted infection, specially curate for Pakistan. The ‘Minus One Formula’ is when a leader of a political party is no longer acceptable to the people and is replaced by someone within the party. This indicates that the party and its manifesto are acceptable to the people, but the person leading is not and therefore, they must be replaced. Although it indicates that the people, meaning the general public, are dissatisfied, the real people behind such moves are not necessarily the general public.

In his last rally in Gujranwala, the deposed prime minister claimed that the government is making moves towards using the Minus One Formula against him and that they will not be successful as the general public is with him. The recent court case against him also suggests that indeed the government or other institutions are looking into making this move so as to bar Khan from contesting elections in the future and becoming the premier once again. Imran Khan and his party have also said that the government is not organizing the promised early elections as they are afraid that Khan will take the lead. However, the government and the election commission have stated that they cannot hold elections right now due to logistical issues.

If the talks of Minus One Formula are true, the government should be wary of the people Khan has managed to attract a massive crowd towards himself and if he is disqualified the reaction may not be in favour of the current government. It could turn out to be dangerous and may even encourage polarization as Khan has a lot of support throughout the different strata of society. The current government is in deep waters due to rising inflation and instability in the economy. Moreover, the floods have made the situation even worse. Therefore, angering people or their leaders right now will be devastating for the country and the current government and so they should tread with caution.

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