The practical death of PTI’s narrative

If Imran Khan was actually putting the interests of Pakistan first, he would have gone for the Pak-Iran gas deal despite the opposition from the US, which he didn’t

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had a tough time dealing with the label of “beggar” and “cherry blossom” given by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) supporters. Ever since he said the infamous “beggars can’t be choosers” proverb, the PTI centred its whole narrative on framing the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) alliance as the shoe licker of the US.

Ever since the PDM came to power, PTI Chairman Imran Khan is giving an impression that the PML-N and the PPP are slaves of the US. As long as they are in power, we will be submissive to US and its anti-Pakistan policies. The PTI has frequently accused the coalition government of not buying oil from Russia. According to the PTI, India has an independent foreign policy, due to which it buys oil from Russia at a lower cost as compared to other countries who are selling oil at a comparatively higher price, but Pakistan is unable to do so because “the slaves of US are in power”.

The PTI claims that it was all set to buy the oil from Russia at a reasonable price when the US “implanted” the PDM and halted the deal with Russia. The PDM, on the other hand, denied the claim multiple times saying that the PTI government did try to approach Russia in this regard, however, Russia didn’t respond to this offer. The PDM also claims that after coming to power, the coalition itself also tried to reach out to Russia but did not get a response. But PTI supporters are fully convinced that it is the fear of the US that is creating a hurdle in the deal between Pakistan and Russia.

Pakistan collaborating with the rivals of the US, like China and Iran, has always irked Washington, and Russia is no exception. The CPEC irked US, Pak-Iran gas pipeline was frowned upon the US, and now a potential deal of oil between Pakistan and Russia is also bothersome for the US. For Russia, the environment is heated due to its conflict with Ukraine. The US has barred all its allies from buying oil from Russia in solidarity with Ukraine. India didn’t listen but since it is a major player in our region, it got a pass.

Previously, when there was tension between the US and Iran due to revoking of the nuclear pact, India was still working with Iran and US had to overlook as usual. India is a major market and a rising economy. It can get away with a lot of things, including depriving a nation of its right of sovereignty. Pakistan, on the other hand, is a weak player. It cannot invest anywhere. It only asks for investments. It’s economy is like a Titanic which is headed for the iceberg of bankruptcy. Pakistan is not supposed to offend superpowers like the US.

Surprisingly, Pakistan did agree to become part of China’s One Belt-One Road initiative. In the tenure of PML-N and the PPP, Pakistan was working on CPEC. However, during the PTI era, the development slowed down. The PTI regime (as they call themselves regime) did not work on Pak-Iran gas pipeline. Pakistan has been facing gas crisis for years. And we could easily resolve it by taking it from Iran. Both the PPP and the PML-N didn’t consider this option due to fear of the US and the PTI did the same. If Imran Khan was actually putting the interests of Pakistan first, he would have gone for the Pak-Iran gas deal despite the opposition from the US, which he didn’t. So how can Imran Khan call other parties American slaves when he did not do anything in his tenure that goes against the policies of the US either? The only daring thing that he did was to respond to a hypothetical question of a foreign journalist about access to Pakistani airbases. US already left Afghanistan, why would they even want an airbase from Pakistan? But this question never arises in the mind of a PTI supporter and they continue to knight Khan for that one hypothetical “absolutely not”.

Since Pakistan repeatedly showed interest in buying oil from Russia, Russia has now hinted that it will expand its oil market and Pakistan is under consideration. This is a development that is taking place under the tenure of coalition government. Now if coalition government successfully buys oil from Russia, the reaction of Imran Khan will be interesting to see. On top of that, Tehran has also showed interest in completing the Pak Iran gas pipeline.

If the deals of Pakistan with Iran and Russia are locked during a time when Shehbaz Sharif is the sitting prime minister, the narrative of PTI that PDM has been installed by US and they are slaves to Americans will die its own death for real. Because why would US implant people who are collaborating with their rivals despite dire financial crisis.

PML-N is running out of time. It has to start working on these deals. It has to achieve these targets before elections so that it can confidently say that it took all those decisions that were necessary for Pakistan and made policies that were serving the interests of Pakistan rather than being submissive to US.