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Will Imran Khan’s Ship Survive The Coming Storm?

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Imran Khan’s speech at Tiger Force Convention was testament to what the Left has been saying in Pakistan & what opposition wrapped in the flag of PDM is mourning about. For the most part, the speech was a reflection of his indignation over the outcry of the opposition parties against his ‘puppeteers’. He seemed a sheer epitome of a warrior who is more certain about his physical strength to outmuscle the opponent rather than entrusting his instincts. But our PM should know that power is a slippery surface, especially when it comes to politics. Even a warrior in a pit fighting cannot squash the opponent with bones & muscles only.

The captain is abundantly blooping. In a response to NS’s allegation of the military’s share in the country’s dirty politics, he surprisingly & very lucidly confirmed it by stating manifold past events. For instance, he mentioned that Nawaz himself is the progeny of Zia’s Era, Khuwaja Asif called General Bajwa to help him win (which he did) and that Bajwa is so generous that he took a cut in the country’s defense budget as if it was Herculean task for any civilian government, thereby the Army did a favor. Sounded like an Imran Khan sponsored by GHQ not the Prime Minister elected by votes of the people of Pakistan, including those who are out on streets protesting against his foiled policies.

The contemporary political atmosphere is undoubtedly unprecedented in the history of Pakistan. Some very novel scenes have been observed. Once hailed as traitors, the same Bacha Khan, GM Syed, Hussain Shaheed Seharwardi, Mujib ur Rahman & other myriads of political figures are portrayed as heroes of the nation in the large public gatherings by the leaders of the 11-party alliance, PDM. Barriers have shackled to some extent. Taboos are defrosting.

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The-one-who-must-not-be-named are openly rebuked. Voices reprimanding the military establishment have been heard for the first time from the land of Punjab.

Former incumbents, including Nawaz Sharif, might have had enough of the boots kicking them out of the office each time they got disobedient. Enough-is-enough is all he has in his speeches. Looks like he is all set to what Sindhis, Balochis, Pakhtoons & other ethnically minor nations have been subjected to for the seven decades. The certificates of treachery have already been out against the Nawaz & company. But he has done a great job so far. Denuding some bitter realities & exposing them to the people at the expanse of being hailed as the traitor is the job one would rethink about a thousand times before giving it the shot. And the Government has, as expected, gone crazy. Shunning Nawaz off the television screens & concealing the speeches of other opposition leaders is the antidote the IK-Bajwa administration has found to heal their wounds. The media has observed some very appalling censorship. Hyper-critics of the Hybrid regime like Mehmud Khan Achakzai, Mian Iftikhar Ahmed of ANP & Mohsin Dawar of PTM were nowhere near the limelight of news channels. Their speeches were knocked off. Nawaz Sharif is banned to televise by the order of PEMRA. Generals’ names are expurgated even from the live transmission on social media.

Apparently, the opposition is ready to face the music in the wake of confronting the Godfather(s). They don’t mind it. But where does that leave the government?

Nothing that Nawaz Sharif & others are saying is any different from what Imran Khan has been claiming before his rise into mainstream politics in 2011. He himself was a critic of the Army’s influence over the country’s executive. The current stance of Imran Khan & company is all but merely another U-turn from past proclamations. The tide is set. And he is feeling it too. But he needs to play with a sane mind. There have been opportunities in the past to break the cycle but no leader in the past plucked up enough courage to throw down the gauntlet. Undoubtedly the country’s politics is thrust into uncharted territory at the present. The opposition has made itself heard loud & clear. It’s up to Imran Khan how he sets the course. One thing is for sure; whatever he opts to do will decide the fate of the military establishment’s colossal say in the parliamentarian matters. The opposition, mainly PML-N & PPP, too need to vow to alter their parties’ structure to make it democratic as their past doesn’t qualify as satisfying.

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Human rights abuses have clearly been witnessed in PPP & PML-N’s tenure. The plight of missing persons has a prolonged history that needs to be addressed. Thousands of political workers are currently being gradually smoldered in the torture cells. It’s exhorting to see finally someone from the mainstream joining the ranks to voice the unheard. But its a matter of time now, to see how far they get along with their anti-establishment narrative. It’s clear that the cycle is breaking. The long frozen ice on some untouchable matters is melting & the tide is getting stronger and furious enough to frustrate the captain who is losing control of the helm. But the question remains: will the ship survive the coming storm.

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Naya Daur