A rift between politicians and the establishment is not a new thing in Pakistan. Faces change overtime but the tug of war never ends. In the power struggle, the judiciary plays a crucial role and carries great responsibility to ensure the rule of law without subduing any pressure whatsoever.
The prevailing political mess after the passage of the no-confidence motion against former Prime Minister Imran Khan is not going to end in the near future. Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan has started an agitation and is busy seeking powerful institutions’ intervention for re-establishing his government in the Centre. Mr. Khan is pleading his case on the ground that the US intervened in a regime change in Pakistan and an imported government is ruling the country.
The PTI chief accused the PML-N of colliding with foreign forces in hatching a conspiracy against his government. Soon after his removal from the premiership, he is asking the judiciary and the military establishment to validate his point of view and take the necessary action. However, his assertions have not been accepted as true by both institutions. During his agitation, he is levelling every kind of allegation through his firebrand speeches and employed all possible means to prove that his accusations were true. He is holding rallies, and public meetings where he seeks help from a ‘third umpire’ but all in vain. He is in fact failed to get the necessary support from the establishment.
Now, he has turned to the masses, who are already fed up with the poor economic policies of the present regime. He has succeeded in getting support from a large portion of the population as is visible in the victory of the PTI in recent bye-elections in Punjab and the winning of the NA-245 seat in Karachi.
The ruling coalition on the other hand wants to stop this charisma of the PTI. The government has imposed a ban on live speeches of the PTI chief and police have already been in action against the diehard supporters of Imran Khan. While the judiciary is also taking note of Khan’s provocative speeches. Reportedly, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) has hinted that it would initiate contempt of court proceedings against the ex-premier for passing controversial remarks against a district court judge. The police had already filed terrorism charges against Khan over what they said was a threat to public officials as he had hurled threats at Islamabad’s police chief and a female judge, Zeba Chaudhry, over what he called the arrest and alleged torture of a close aide who faces sedition charges for urging the military’s lower ranks to defy the orders of superiors.
On the other hand, the supporters of the PTI chief have termed his arrest as a red line and warned the coalition government of a serious response if it would go ahead with the decision to arrest Imran Khan. Since charges have been framed against the PTI chief, the government is undecided over the decision to arrest Khan due to his popularity among the general public and fearing a strong backlash.
The political chaos can take an ugly turn anytime and the ultimate sufferers of the mess will be the masses. Politicians need to demonstrate some responsibility and resolve their differences in an amicable way instead of involving other institutions in the power struggle.
This state of affairs is a disaster waiting to happen for Pakistan’s democracy and the past informs us that we cannot have a country functional for too long with the existence of a tough power struggle. At the same time, the PTI chief needs to demonstrate some responsibility. He has been provided with a chance in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK), where he can practice all his ideas for bringing positive change and winning the hearts of the masses. If he changes the fate of the people of Punjab and KPK through good governance, the whole country will turn to him in the 2023 elections. He should give up his stance in the larger national interest and resolve all differences politically. The PTI chief and other elected members need to go to the parliament, which is the right platform for the resolution of all issues democratically.