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Coronavirus Coronavirus Updates Politics

Imran Khan’s Inability Ensures Civil Supremacy Will Forever Remain An Elusive Dream

Mansoor Ahmed Kataria argues that Imran Khan’s inability to lead the nation during the Coronavirus outbreak has allowed ‘others to fill in the blanks’ once again.

The World is fighting a monster. And yet, Pakistan’s government does not even seem interested in dealing with the Coronavirus pandemic. They are still looking for opportunities to score political points against their rivals. The PTI-led government, after almost two long years in power, is still busy fighting for its legitimacy. Back to back failures, coupled with the inexperience to deal with a crisis as big as this pandemic, has exposed its inability. Meanwhile, the state is drowning under its massive foreign debt. Crises don’t give birth to leaders. They only give politicians the chance to prove their ability to lead. The aftermath of the 1965 and 1971 wars gave birth to the term ‘Bhuttoism’. Similarly, COVID-19 is a chance for the current lot to rise and shine.

Pakistan has had a checkered history when it comes to civil-military ties. From Iskander Mirza to Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, and from Benazir Bhutto to Nawaz Sharif, everyone was chastised for breaching the trust of the self-styled ‘patriots’. The ‘patriots’ don’t like those who refuse to obey the commands, even in purely civilian matters. If the winds change tomorrow, Imran Khan will neither be the first nor the last to have faced the wrath of the ‘powers that be’.

A recent article in a UK-based newspaper clearly stated that the army had sidelined Imran Khan amid the coronavirus pandemic. Imran Khan had made it clear that he wanted no lockdown in the country but the very next day, ISPR DG held a press briefing to inform the nation that the armed forces were ready to ensure the ‘implementation the lockdown’ across the country. It is clear now that the military believes Imran Khan incapable of dealing with such a gigantic crisis. Khan later met with ISI head and COAS General Bajwa. The visits were of utmost importance. Mr. Khan has repeatedly encouraged the nation on live press conferences to stay in lockdown but practically he’s done nothing to ensure it. PPP spokesperson Nafeesa Shah has rightly warned about the need to fill in the blanks so that others wouldn’t get the chance to do so.

The role of the military is highly important in ensuring the security of a state. Whether we like it or not, Afghanistan and India are two thorns in Pakistan’s side. These dangerous neighbors are a major reason why the Pakistani army’s meddling in civilian affairs is tolerated. And let’s be frank: Pakistan’s military has played a vital role in the US-Taliban peace talks. We can’t change or dispute these facts.

And frankly, all hopes of a civilian-run, civilian-led Pakistan were lost with the sad departure of Nawaz Sharif from PM House in July 2017. The nomination of former DG ISPR Asim Saleem Bajwa as the Special Assistant to PM on Information has only reconfirmed that civil supremacy will forever remain an elusive dream in this country.

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